THE Port Elizabeth (PE) Cold Storage plant, one of the very first export-orientated investors to locate their facility at the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ), is once again expanding its facility.The investment, worth R10 million, is the second expansion within a space of two years, following the R100 million investment by the company in 2017. “We doubled our capacity of 7 500 pallets to around 15 000 pallets storage. “The expansion complemented our state of the art modern storage facility and accommodated greater volumes for the increasing citrus production in the Eastern Cape,” said George Efstratiou, PE Cold Storages’ co-director.The current project, set for completion this month, will see the company play a critical role in the refrigeration and short-term storage of citrus products before distribution to markets around the world. The new building will include a new workshop and will facilitate the servicing of the company’s forklifts and other vehicles. “We are very excited about the project and the vast opportunities it brings for the company. Currently, we have over 100 people employed at the PE Cold Storage facilities,” added Efstratiou. “As a result of the expansion, we have managed to create an additional five permanent jobs and a further 25 construction jobs.” Highlighting the importance of locating in an enabling environment, Efstratiou said, “the Coega SEZ has been the ideal investment destination for our company. “I would definitely encourage more investors to come and invest at Coega due to the clean and secure environment, as well as the good services and facilities provided, and being situated near the Port of Ngqura.” According to a media statement issued by Coega Development Corporation, these sentiments support the recent independent study conducted on the impact of the Coega in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and Eastern Cape. For example, more than 80% of the companies that have invested in the Coega SEZ have seen an increase in their profits since starting operations in the zone, which include Coega Dairy and PE Cold Storage, while the benefits are felt throughout the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and the rest of the province, according to an independent research conducted by Muffin Consulting.In addition, 85% of investors have increased their workforce, 62% have expanded their factories, more than 90% described the Coega SEZ and its Logistics Park in Uitenhage as the ideal locations for small and big industries.Private sector investment accounts for approximately 70% of the total investment value at Coega and over 78% of suppliers to the investors are local.“The CDC will continue to be at the forefront of socioeconomic development by creating jobs, providing training and skills development, and supporting small and medium enterprises in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality,” the statement read.