21 June 2013
So said the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu, during a function to mark construction commencement of the company's warehousing at the Dube TradeZone, immediately adjacent to the airport and cargo terminal.
Commenting, Mr Mabuyakhulu said: "The company's investment decision was, I believe, a clear indicator to the business community that Dube TradePort is a great place in which to invest and in which to conduct business. I regard their decision as a massive vote of confidence in the precinct."
Shree Property Holdings has committed R460 million to investment in distribution warehousing for logistics tenants, taking up 23 Dube TradeZone sites for its massive 60 000 square metre undertaking, as well as an additional 15 000 square metre facility. Construction follows a deal brokered in February this year for a multi-phased development approach. Indications are that an initial 12 000 square metre first phase is to be constructed, taking about six months, with future phases following soon thereafter.
"The Group's facilities will, themselves, have a significant impact on the economy and the creation of employment. Construction is envisaged to stimulate the establishment of 987 new jobs. These jobs come with the added benefit of vital up-skilling and knowledge transfer. When these facilities become operational, an additional 750 employment opportunities will come on-stream," said Mr Mabuyakhulu.
He added that the construction of these new facilities would have "an impressive" R164,7 million impact on GDP. Of this amount, some 40,7% could be attributed to on-site construction activities.
Mr Mabuyakhulu indicated that of the 47 original sites offered in the first phase of Dube TradeZone's development, only two did not yet have any agreements in place.
"In less than a year, the private sector has demonstrated exceptional support for the Dube TradePort initiative," he said of the province's foremost infrastructural development and one which, Mr Mabuyakhulu said "best evidences the National Government's commitment to infrastructural development on a massive scale in South Africa."
Around the world, airports are today becoming points of important stimulus for business and Mr Mabuyakhulu said: "We recognised that areas which were fast and agile places in which to do business and which displayed superior connectivity would be capable of attracting new investment. We know, too, that the way of the future and the way to guarantee the business community speed, agility and connectivity is embedded in the development of airport cities."
Dube TradePort is just such an airport city and the embryonic core of Aerotropolis:KZN, marking the evolvement of Southern Africa's premier air logistics platform in KwaZulu-Natal. With the development of Dube TradePort, KwaZulu-Natal has significantly intensified its strategic trade and business position. With the uptake of investment opportunities and continued business interest in locating at Dube TradePort, Mr Mabuyakhulu stressed: "We have an exceptional and highly competitive business operating environment, with King Shaka International Airport at its centre. This is a business area capable of attracting a diverse range of new investors, operators, tenants and users. This is the future of business in KwaZulu-Natal."
"The confidence business has shown in this initiative is quite overwhelming and has prompted the further development of sites in the precinct," he added.
Bringing private sector investment to Dube TradePort has been cited as a priority by Ms Saxen van Coller, recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of Dube TradePort Corporation.
She said: "Our objective is to ensure that Dube TradePort becomes the engine which drives the economic growth of our province. To become that driver necessitates, however, the enticement of private sector investment, such as we have seen by Shree Property Holdings. Investment here and now is a commitment to the business of tomorrow, because the future of business is Dube TradePort, the nucleus of Aerotropolis:KZN."
She added that the emergence of Aerotropolis:KZN was a reality and was being given momentum by new, increased and continuing investment by the private sector.
Mr Pran Shree, Chief Executive Officer of Shree Property Holdings said of the company's investment in Dube TradePort: “As a South African logistics company operating internationally, we use sea, air and land to connect with the world and Dube TradePort is ideally situated to meet our requirements. It offers easy access to the state-of-the-art King Shaka International Airport and two harbours – Durban and Richard’s Bay. There are also plans for a new rail connection to the airport and further north to Ballito.”
“The tenants we are talking to, in terms of taking up space, are the world’s top 10 logistics users, so we want to charter our own aircraft to fly small loads of 150 tons of fruit to China and return with clothing. By having a base at Dube TradePort gives our organisation the intermodal superiority,” he added.
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