R370 mln warehouse opens

2009-07-29 00:00

UNILEVER SA’s giant R370 million warehouse, which dominates the Mkondeni landscape, was officially opened yesterday, a move that signals the fast-moving consumer goods giant’s strong confidence in the local economy.

Described as one of the lar­gest warehouses in the country, the 45 000 square-metre investment covers an area of nine football fields.

Top guests from the KZN business community told The Witness that the development will go a long way toward establishing the Durban-Pietermaritzburg N3 corridor as a major logistics node.

Unilever SA produces popular consumer goods, including Glen Tea, Ola ice cream, Rama margarine, Lipton tea, Sunlight homecare products and Axe deodorant.

According to the company, the Mkondeni investment, known as Ndlovu Park, is one of two major warehouses (the other being Jozi Park in Johannesburg) that will form “the backbone of their new distribution network in South Africa”.

The facility will house food, household and personal care products.

The local economy will benefit in a number of ways, including the creation of 400 jobs, following the creation of hundreds of construction and contracting-related jobs during the building phase.

The total area under roof amounts to 55 000 square-metres and the length of the giant building covers 360 metres.

Pietermaritzburg-based Collins Property Developments was responsible for the construction of the warehouse.

Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize, who opened the facility yesterday, hailed the investment as a means of achieving higher economic growth rates, while pushing back the frontiers of unemployment and poverty.

Unilever stated, “On average, over 130 trucks will arrive each day for offloading and loading of products at the warehouse in order to ser­vice the daily customer deliveries.

“Storage racks are as high as a four-storey building and at least 500 000 pallets with 21 million cases of goods will be moved through the warehouse in a year.

“Unilever has teamed up with DHL, which will manage the warehouse at an operational level, and Barloworld Logistics will run the transport planning platform.”

The chairwoman of Unilever SA, Gail Klintworth, pledged the company’s long-term commitment to South Africa as an investment destination.

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