Durban 21-04-2014 Saxen van Coller who is the CEO @ Dube TradePort. Picture by: Sibonelo Ngcobo

Dube TradePort’s development into a major new industrial hub, aerotropolis and trade gateway in Africa would be fast-tracked through its imminent proclamation as one of South Africa’s new Special Economic Zones (SEZ) to boost industrialisation and exports.

This would see it attract “massive foreign and local investment to the tune of billions of rand”, Saxen van Coller, Dube TradePort Corporation chief executive, said in an exclusive interview with The Mercury.

She said the development would get a boost when it became a fully-fledged SEZ, offering considerable tax and other incentives to foreign and local companies.

“I can even go as far as saying that Dube TradePort is likely to secure over R10 billion in investment into its trade zone by 2020. It has huge potential as a development, but when it becomes a SEZ, it is going to entice unprecedented investment.

“This will help fast-track its development and growth, thus boosting the economy of KwaZulu-Natal and most importantly creating jobs. Becoming a SEZ will elevate the profile of Dube TradePort as a major catalytic economic development project for KZN,” said Van Coller.

She said there had already been tremendous interest after the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) identified Dube TradePort as one of the country’s future SEZs.

She added that the SEZ bill was in the final stages of being legislated, but Dube TradePort had also applied to the dti to become an Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).

“This is to expedite the process, so that companies wanting to invest can get the benefits offered by existing IDZ legislation and their plans are not held up depending on when the SEZ Bill is signed into law. We hope for the SEZ to be launched by June this year,” said Van Coller.

SEZs would replace IDZs and offer much more incentives to lure major investment. KZN would have two SEZs – Richards Bay IDZ would become an SEZ for the Zululand area; while Dube TradePort would become one of the new SEZs and the only one located near Durban.

Van Coller said Dube TradePort had already attracted investment of more than R730 million in the first phase one of its tradezone, located adjacent to its cargo terminal at King Shaka International Airport. Almost all of the space had been leased to the private sector and when fully developed, this phase would yield more than R1bn in private sector investment.

“We expect planning for phase two to be finalised by 2015. Together, both phases are likely to see several billion in investment. We are already in talks with major companies. While some have been finalised such as Shree Properties’ investment, others are either being finalised or in the pipeline,” she said.

Asked about South Korean industrial giant Samsung’s imminent announcement of a major investment into the zone, she said that she could not comment.

“All I can say is that we are in talks with a major investor and are holding thumbs that it will be finalised soon,” said van Coller.

Hamish Erskine, Dube TradePort’s TradeZone executive, said phase two would be double the size of the first phase and together the zone would be 77ha in extent.

“Phase one is virtually accounted for and represents a mix of logistics and manufacturing industries. Phase two will also have logistics to support the growth of Dube TradePort’s cargo terminal, but would focus on more high value manufacturing such electronics. There is already huge demand for industrial space in phase two from private sector companies, which has brought the development of the phase forward by as much as a year,” he said.

Lionel October, director general of the dti said Dube TradePort would develop faster as a new SEZ. This was because a lot of the work had already been done when the government established it as one of the major catalytic developments to boost the provincial economy.

He said once the SEZ bill was signed into law, it would provide a legal framework for the zones and for granting special incentives for businesses operating there. - The Mercury Network