Transnet buys DBN airport for R1,8 bln

2012-04-13 00:00

A R1,8 billion deal secured by Transnet to buy the old Durban International Airport site to develop and operate a dig-out port will reposition Durban as a strong, world-class maritime hub on the African continent.

Transnet told The Witness yesterday that it had secured the land, located south of Durban.

The State-owned enterprise said it will use the site to develop a container terminal that will have 16 container berths, five automotive berths and four liquid bulk berths. “The land is of strategic importance to Transnet’s long-term growth plans and will be developed in a phased approach of four phases comprising four container berths in each phase,” he said. He added the Durban Airport site will ultimately create 9,6 million twenty-foot equivalent units capacity once all four phases are complete and is expected to address capacity requirements up to 2040. The first phase is scheduled for completion in 2019 and will cost R50 billion. The rest of the project will be completed by 2037.

Transnet could not provide an estimate of how many jobs would be created by this development.

According to economist and Vice President of the Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI), Kwanele Gumbi, “the dig-out port is one of the most innovative and welcomed investments in KZN for many years”.

Gumbi told The Witness that the port will be a catalyst for economic growth in KZN, while also providing Durban with a competitive edge. Earlier this week, Transnet announced a seven-year, R300 billion plan to invest in its rail and port capacity — a move that was widely welcomed by industry and economic analysts alike.

The Dube TradePort (DTP) was also recently launched, with the DTP’s agri-zone already functioning well.

Gumbi said the dig-out port was a necessity for the Durban region. “There is a definite need for a secondary port. Durban has its limitations in terms of future expansion.

“This would...create an ideal logistics hub. It will attract customers once it is built,” said Gumbi.

He added that various sectors of the economy would benefit from the development, including maritime, warehousing, construction and support services.

Gumbi stressed the importance of running an efficient port.

“Transnet, as operators, must provide the best skills, and make sure that it is a world-class port operating in a highly efficient manner. They should run it better than the current ports in operation.”

Gumbi said the port will serve as an entry point for cargo destined for inland South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

“It could also lend itself to being an option as a secondary port for export when capacity elsewhere is taken up,” Gumbi explained.

Transnet said the conclusion of the deal is subject to approval by the Competition Tribunal.

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