Sunday World

Durban port upgrade a game changer

Transnet announces five-year R44-billion mega project for its ports

- By Sandile Motha sandile@sundayworl­

Buoyed by being the second-largest provincial contributo­r to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) after Gauteng, Kwazulu-natal wants to be a key economic superpower in the world, and an investment destinatio­n of choice.

Key to its ambitious plan is to leverage the multi-billion rand mega project that was announced by Transnet.

The state entity has announced that it will invest about R44-billion through its National Ports Authority and Port Terminals division over the next five years.

At the heart of the mega project is the expansion and upgrading plan of one of Africa’s busiest ports in Durban by transformi­ng it into a worldclass hub for the container shipping industry.

The project also includes a massive facelift to the Port of Richards Bay.

Donee Kruger, the acting head of marketing and communicat­ion at Trade and Investment KZN (TIKZN) told Sunday World the expansion of the two ports will be a game changer for the province.

“The expansion and upgrading of the Durban port will further unlock logistics and increase competitiv­eness of the port for handling an increased number of containers. The recent floods caused massive damage. About 65% or more of SA’S imports and exports go through the Durban port, making KZN an important hub for trade in the country,” said Kruger.

She said Richards Bay was also critical to the province and the country, handling more than 50% of cargo by volume. It is also the deepest port in SA.

“Besides this, the Richards Bay port has the largest coal terminal in the world.”

TIKZN is an entity under the provincial department of economic developmen­t, tourism and environmen­tal affairs (EDTEA). Its main responsibi­lity is to grow the economy of the province by attracting new investment opportunit­ies.

Transnet also announced that the project would see the highest number of small, micro and medium enterprise­s (SMMES) holding a larger stake in infrastruc­tural investment.

Siboniso Duma, the MEC for EDTEA, said it was part of their plan to ensure the project also produces black industrial­ists. “Our call is for SMMES to dream big by being involved in the ownership, creation, management and operations in key economic sectors such as the ports. This includes the localisati­on of procuremen­t.”

Key to the provincial economy was also the upgrading, refurbishm­ent and maintenanc­e of rail infrastruc­ture, which has been abandoned for years.

 ?? ?? The expansion and upgrading of one of Africa’s busiest ports in Durban is on the cards.
The expansion and upgrading of one of Africa’s busiest ports in Durban is on the cards.

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