The Dube Trade Port is set to be a major logistics platform for Southern Africa, as the Port of Durban provides connectivity to 53 international destinations and access to local distribution networks, said President Jacob Zuma.
The President launched the state-of-the-art, multi-billion rand cargo terminal, trade zone, agriculture zone and IT and telecommunications platform at La Mercy, KwaZulu-Natal.
Located between the two largest seaports in the southern hemisphere Durban and Richards Bay – the Dube Trade Port has huge potential to boost economic growth and job creation in the province and the country.
The port, in which the King Shaka International Airport is located, has been operational for 22 months and the first phase has been completed. In the long term, the plan is to establish an “aerotropolis” to the north of Durban, stretching from Umhlanga to Ballito.
KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize, also speaking at the launch, said the Dube Trade Port would greatly expand the province’s import and export capacity.
In 2003, a decision was made to relocate the old Durban International Airport to La Mercy and to establish the Dube Trade Port, incorporating the new King Shaka International Airport.
Passenger traffic at the new airport, which was completed in 2010 ahead of the FIFA World Cup, has been steadily growing since then.
“It is anticipated that the airport’s passenger traffic for the 2012 financial year will exceed the five million mark,” Zuma noted.
Gateway to Africa
President Zuma welcomed the decision of airline SA Express to make Durban its base for expanding into the southern African region. This is in line with government’s African agenda of promoting trade and economic growth on the continent by opening up new routes or expanding existing ones on the continent.
SA Express has concluded an agreement with the Dube Trade Port Corporation, which will see a connection being established between King Shaka International and the region, especially to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique.
There are also plans for SA Express to expand into other African countries including Namibia, Malawi, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“There can only be positive results from this strategic move,” President Zuma said. “Three regions alone – SADC, the East African Community and the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa – bring together about 600-million people. Added to this, Africa provides a market of one-billion people. The focus on our continent is therefore a step in the right direction in terms of the country’s strategic goals.”
The Dube Trade Port will also form an important part of government’s new pipeline of major infrastructure development projects. One of them is the improvement of the movement of goods and economic integration through a Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistics and industrial corridor.
“This project is intended to connect the major economic centres of Gauteng and Durban/Pinetown. At the same time, it will link these centres with an improved export capacity through our sea ports and improved railway lines,” the President said.
“We expect this corridor to also stimulate growth in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, a major agricultural and industrial region through which the route will pass.”
-Francis Hweshe, BuaNews