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A Powerhouse of Trade

Dube TradePort is perhaps one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects underway right now. It’s a massive undertaking that is already acting as a catalyst for global trade, as well as a valuable portal between KwaZuluNatal and the rest of the world. By Chris Farnell

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER SAXEN VAN COLLER EXPLAINS. “DUBE TRADEPORT IS A SCHEDULE 3C PROVINCIAL PUBLIC ENTITY. OUR MANDATE IS TO BE THE CATALYST AND INTERACTION AVENUE BETWEEN PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT AND THE GOVERNMENT. WE MANAGE BOTH COMMERCIAL AND LOGISTICALLY ORIENTATED INFRASTRUCTURE AND PROVIDE A SOFT LANDING FOR PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT IN STATE ENTITIES.” Dube TradePort brings together an international airport, a cargo terminal, warehouse facilities, offices, shopping centres, hotels and even an agricultural area, all within 30km of Durban and smack bang between Southern Africa’s two largest sea ports, with a web of road and rail links connecting it to the rest of the continent. “It’s the flagship of the South African government and it’s already begun to fast track investment into the area,” van Coller says. “Our location is only 50 km from Africa’s biggest (bulk) port, including the Durban port, the busiest port in Africa. We are a greenfield, purpose built Aerotropolis, we’re building a airport city around a carefully planned development.” A TOUR OF DUBE TRADEPORT So let’s take a look around Dube TradePort. The centrepiece of the whole establishment has to be King Shaka International Airport. This is one of the world’s only Greenfield airports, with the capacity to handle 7.5 million passengers per annum, and will have the capacity to handle 45 million passengers by the final stage of the airport’s development. Here you’ll find the longest sea-level runway in the country at 3.7 km in length, and wide enough to accommodate the latest generation of wide-bodied aircraft. Nearby you’ll find the Dube Cargo Terminal, one of Africa’s most advanced and secure cargo terminals. Dube Cargo Terminal is equipped with state-of-the-art ramp handling equipment, designed for freighter aircrafts faster turnaround time for the 100,000 tons of cargo per annum that it is capable of handling. By 2060 Dube TradePort expects to have increased that cargo capacity to over 2 million. Adjacent to the cargo terminal is Dube TradeZone, an ultra modern P46 I BUSINESS FOCUS I ISSUE 39 I



SMEC South Africa (Pty) Ltd is proud to be associated with the Dube Trade Port Project.

+27 (0)31-277 6600

SMEC SOUTH AFRICA SECURES SECOND CONTRACT AT DUBE TRADE PORT. Dube Trade Port is a catalyst for global trade and a portal between KwaZuluNatal and the world. Consequently major investments are being made in this development. In December 2013, SMEC South Africa was pleased to announce the awarding of a second contract with the Dube Trade Port for the design and supervision of a large double basement parking structure to support a hotel and offices development. The project requires an experienced team including Architect, Quantity Surveyor, Project Manager and Engineers to design, procure and supervise the construction for a 600- bay basement car park on two levels over a 9,000m² footprint. The project is located within Dube City adjacent to the prestigious 29 Degrees South building and two minutes’ travel from the King Shaka International Airport. Close co-ordination and co-operation will be required with the top structure developers of a 3-star hotel and offices that will commence immediately after construction of the basement. SMEC’s direct involvement will include structural, civil, electrical and mechanical expertise. P48 I BUSINESS FOCUS I ISSUE 39 I


industrial sector where freight-forwarding and air-cargo-related businesses can set up shop. Moving over to the airport’s passenger terminal, you will find Dube City. Dube City is set to be a massive commercial development that will house business, retail and leisure. The latest telecommunications, IT and value-added services will be provided to Dube TradePort’s onsite community thanks to Dube iConnect, which will ensure fast global connections 24/7 with the highest standards of performance, security and support. Finally, Dube TradePort has its own agricultural centre, with the first phase consisting of 20 hectares of land bosting 16 hectares of greenhouses, the continent’s largest climate-controlled growing area under glass, as well as tissue culture labs, nurseries and research centres. But the buildings and equipment are not the only thing that makes Dube TradePort so exceptional. No, for this trade and transport hub to do what it does it needs a fantastically qualified and dedicated team of people. The tricky part is finding them. Fortunately, van Coller says, Dube TradePort is taking great efforts to locate the right people for its team. “We employ a wide range of specialists and engineers,” she says. “We

have bursary schemes in the nearby towns and adjacent areas, giving bursaries to engineering students. We’ve rolled out 20 internships just in 2013. We really focus on trying to transfer and develop skills for the immediate future within our precinct. We also do road shows with the local government, looking for young talent we can support and enable going forward.” BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE As well as the long term benefits the Dube TradePort project is going to create, such as heightened connectivity between the rest of Africa and the world, in the short term the project has already been responsible for huge benefits to the construction industry. During the construction phase of Dube TradePort 16 500 jobs performing on-site activities were created, while far more resulted indirectly through companies and organisations associated with the construction, the total impact on employment has been calculated to be closer to 64 500 country wide. Of these, about 84% were semi-skilled or unskilled 46 195 of these jobs were created in KwaZulu-Natal. The impact this project has had on the construction sector in eThekwini alone is undeniable, but further jobs are also constantly emerging in finance, trade and business and community I ISSUE 39 I BUSINESS FOCUS I P49

[ BUSINESS FOCUS_DUBE TRADEPORT ] services. However that doesn’t mean the project has always run smoothly. Talking about the challenges of implementing this project, van Coller tells us, “Our environmental approvals have been a bit of a challenge. We’ve had to make place a large amount of investment and development into environmental issues that have been a challenge.” One particular issue has been the presence of areas of land that have been declared protected wetlands. “We’ve bought additional land to offset that and rehabilitate that vegetation,” van Coller says. “We’ve been active in making sure we balance environmental issues with our development needs.” Overall though, van Coller’s experience with the project has been an incredibly positive one.


“It’s been absolutely outstanding,” she says proudly. “Private sector investment has shown a really big interest in us. So much so that we’ve started work on the second phase of the project two years ahead of schedule, because it’s been a hugely successful year for investment.” SO WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE DUBE TRADEPORT? “We have a state of the art international airport and now we’re looking to partner with international airlines,” van Coller says. “We’re also enabling a large number of supply chain opportunities. We have an international airport, a cargo terminal, warehousing, offices, a retail sector, hotels, and an agricultural area all with 30 km of Durban. It’s a fantastic resource. We’re also looking for opportunities with logistics and supply chain companies particularly for agriculture, fish produce and electronics.”



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