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Richards Bay holds great promise for growth in multiple sectors

R

Port of opportunity

ichards Bay plays a vital role in South Africa’s economy as a port, a mining destination and as a growing centre of large-scale industrial development, but it also a hub for tourism and leisure serving the Zululand tourism region, with the St Lucia wetlands and the Elephant Coast just a short distance away to the north. The City of uMhlathuze encompasses the two main centres of Richards Bay and Empangeni as well as a number of smaller settlements and traditional councils. With a population of about 350 000, the area has good communications (the Port of Richards Bay, the N2 highway and an airport), the headquarters of the University of Zululand and several campuses of the uMfolozi TVET College. Richards Bay has its own tourism attractions, which include the Tuzi Gazi Waterfront and game fishing. The hills of Zululand host many cultural villages where traditional culture can be experienced, and where the sites can be seen of old battles between Zulu, Boer and Brit. Wonderful safaris are on offer at Thanda, Thula Thula, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, Ithala, Opathe and the Zululand Rhino Reserve. The Umfolozi Hotel Convention Resort will host the Pan-African Health Tourism Congress, the first of its kind, in June 2017. The congress will investigate how this growing sector can develop even further with sessions on investment, destinations and education.

The Port of Richards Bay has been expanding its capacity at a fast rate. In dealing with 80-million tons of cargo annually (60% of South Africa’s seaborne cargo), it is not only the leading port in terms of volume, it is also the largest port in South Africa. A strong selling point for the port is its deepwater infrastructure, encompassing a maximum permissible draught of 17.5 metres. Together with excellent terminal infrastructure and professional management, this allows for quick turnarounds. The Port has six cargo handling terminals and covers 2 174ha of land. The Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) has the capacity to export 91-million tons of coal in a year. In November 2016 a new monthly record of over 8 000Mt was set. If that rate of export was extended over a year, 97Mt/a could be handled through the RBCT. The Port of Richards Bay is also associated with the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ). Recent developments at RBIDZ have seen an investment in an oil and gas facility and it is hoped that the ocean will yield finds of gas to provide cheap feedstock. Mozambique has very strong reserves of offshore gas. The decision by the national Department of Energy to allocate to Richards Bay a 2 000MW power

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KWAZULU-NATAL BUSINESS 2017/18

KwaZulu-Natal Business 2017/18  

KwaZulu-Natal Business 2016/17 is the eighth edition of this highly successful publication that has since its launch in 2007 established its...

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