dti Minister Rob Davies cuts the ribbon to officially launch the Musina Intermodal Terminal. PHOTO: Supplied
Musina - The launch of the Musina Intermodal Terminal (MIT) was a huge boost to the regional economic integration and Special Economic Zones Programme, Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, said.

Davies, who was speaking during the launch of the MIT in Musina in Limpopo, said the MIT would contribute immensely to the regional economic integration that South Africa, the SADC region and the continent at large was working hard for. According to Davies, the Musina Intermodal Terminal addressed a number of policies of government and the promotion of regional economic integration.

The terminal, which is aimed at the containerised cargo market and the transportation of mineral ores such as coal, iron ore, chrome, copper and sulphur, was a stepping stone to bigger projects within and around the newly- designated Musina-Makhado SEZ. "The SEZ will significantly increase industrial production in the region.

This will include steel and related inputs for producing steel and stainless steel, as well as increasing mining development and production. The SEZ will thus increase trade between South Africa and its neighbours. Regional integration will also be deepened," added Davies. He said that the project was designed to improve trade which was key to the regional integration agenda. According to Davies, it further spoke to the goals of moving up the value chain and industrialisation of the country.

Davies further announced that the Southern African Development Community tariff agreement with the east corridor would be finalised in July 2017 and said it was going to present new trading opportunities and open new markets for trading. The Chairman of MIT, Dr Morley Nkosi, described the project as that which would accelerate economic growth and development in the region, driving increased foreign and domestic direct investment, increased value-added exports, creation of jobs, and the building of industrial clusters and regional industrial hubs.

He added that the intermodal movement of cargo from road to rail and vice versa would result in reduced carbon emissions, logistics costs and road congestion, as approximately 62,000 vehicle trips per annum are removed from the region's roads. The MIT is one of the key support facilities for the newly designated Musina-Makhado SEZ, especially the Energy and Metallurgical Cluster with an investment of over R40 billion in at least eight large-scale industrial projects, including a power station, a coking coal plant, ferrosilicon plant, a steel plant, and a stainless steel plant.

Once fully implemented the zone is expected to create a total employment of more than 20,000. MIT would also award ten bursaries in logistics and transport to deserving students with matric from the area.