R360 mln sugar firm deal approved

2012-04-13 00:00

IT was a sweet deal for Msunduzi Municipality as they approved plans to build a R360 million sugar warehouse which will serve as a distribution centre.

The municipality approved the plans during last week’s Executive Committee (Exco) meeting at the city hall.

Deputy municipal manager: economic development, Skhumbuzo Mpanza, said: “The matter was put to Exco because we wanted to fast-track the process before running the risk of losing such a huge investment for our city, which has a high level of unemployment.”

This is an initiative by Illovo in partnership with Collins Property Group.

The warehouse will be situated at 8 Grix Road, near Sobantu.

Illovo spokesperson Chris Fitzgerald said it will serve as a central distribution point between Illovo’s production facilities in the province and its retail and industrial customers across the country.

“Following the project’s recent approval by the Msunduzi city council, construction of the 51 000 m² warehouse has commenced and will take about 12 months to complete,” he said.

Fitzgerald said the development was born out of an agreement which will see Collins Property Group funding and constructing the facility, following which it will be leased to Illovo.

“Once completed, at any one time, the warehouse will be able to store 175 000 tons of sugar. The operations of the warehouse will be outsourced by Illovo to Barlo­world Logistics, Illovo’s logistics partner throughout southern Africa,” said Fitzgerald.

Dave Howells, managing director of Illovo Sugar South Africa, said the project will result in substantial efficiency savings in the sugar logistics supply chain.

“We were very pleased to receive support for and the approval of the project from the Msunduzi city council and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the people of Pietermaritzburg,” said Howells.

He said good stakeholder relations in the communities within which Illovo operates are a critical component of the Illovo Group’s strategic intent, and to this end a conducive meeting between the partners of the project and representatives of the neighbouring Sobantu community has already taken place.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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