Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. FILE PHOTO: ANA

JOHANNESBURG  - The Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone has concluded investment agreements, which bring the total of signed investors to eight and the investment value to just over R3 billion.

This investment includes five international investors from the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in Africa, with the rest being local South African companies. 

Trade and Industry spokesperson Sidwell Medupe said: "All these investors are investing in a variety of fabrication workshops for steel and other metals, equipment and marine repair facilities, oil lubricant and fuel plants, as well as specialised engineering services."

Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies expressed his satisfaction with the investment agreements.

"The investments signal a significant start of establishing new industrial value-chains in and around the Port of Saldanha. The Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone is part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (the dti) Special Economic Zones Programme and is developing into a world-class offshore and maritime hub," Davies said.

Davies added that having established most of the major land-based infrastructure and some of the marine infrastructure, their partnership with the Transnet National Ports Authority has already started some of the design and commercial work for expanding the infrastructure offering with additional port facilities.

"The Saldanha Bay IDZ’s investment pipeline includes at least five more investments that are close to conclusion. If these are realised they will add another R2.4 billion of investment to the short and medium term outlook of the zone. The total investor pipeline includes around 40 additional interested companies in various stages of engagement," said Davies.

The Western Cape Government and the dti partnered with the Saldanha Bay Municipality and larger companies in the West Coast to start building the ecosystem for localised procurement and small, medium and micro-sized enterprises support as a result of the opportunities posed by the new value-chains.

The MEC for Economic Opportunities in the Western Cape, Beverley Schäfer, said these investments by local and international investors signal confidence in the oil, gas and maritime sector, which will contribute to opportunities for the development of small business in the region.

"We have already seen significant strides in skills development as a result of our focus on the oil and gas sectors and continued growth and investment has the potential for further skills development and job creation opportunities into the future," said Schäfer.

The investors are targeting construction to start between March 2019 and March 2020.

- African News Agency (ANA)