Dube TradePort: All systems go for economic and social opportunities

DubeThe need for continued investment in South Africa’s infrastructure continues to be felt acutely across the country. The positive economic benefits of such development are perhaps most positively demonstrated at the pride of KwaZulu Natal: Dube TradePort.

Dube TradePort Corporation, is a business entity of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, and is charged with the responsibility to develop the province’s biggest infrastructural project. Considered one of South Africa’s top 10 investment opportunities, this recently-declared Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) is geared to promote foreign and local investment.


This site of technology and innovation is located approximately 30 kilometres to the north of Durban and encompasses 2,840 hectares of industrial development, including the impressive King Shaka International Airport. Dube TradePort is also strategically located, just 30 minutes from the Continent’s busiest cargo Port at Durban Harbour, and some 90 minutes from Richards Bay Harbour.

Of course such a vast venture took years of planning and construction and the corporate website perhaps best describes the principle initiatives and facilities:

“Dube TradePort, a highly competitive business-operating environment, forms the heart of the emerging Aerotropolis: KZN. The first purpose-built aerotropolis in Africa and destined to become a premier business and trade hub, Aerotropolis: KZN’s coastal location makes logistics a cost-effective proposition. Dube TradePort’s air logistics platform together with burgeoning seaport infrastructure, access to numerous global destinations and linkages to SADC countries, combine to position KwaZulu-Natal as a key business point in South and Southern Africa.

“Dube TradePort comprises a world-class passenger and airfreight hub and is surrounded by development zones, namely:

“Dube Cargo Terminal: A state-of-the-art cargo facility, purpose-built to be the most secure in Africa. With digital tracking and secure cargo flow through on-site statutory bodies, Dube Cargo Terminal prides itself on 0% cargo loss since inception in 2010;

“Dube TradeZone: A 77 hectares growing to 300 hectares of specialised, prime and fully-services industrial estate within the IDZ. In close proximity to Dube Cargo Terminal, this zone is ideally positioned for new-generation warehousing, manufacturing, assembling, air-related cargo distribution and more;

“Dube City: 12 hectares of premium office, retail and hospitality space – all located in an ultra-modern urban ‘green’ hub just 3 minutes from the passenger terminal;

“Dube AgriZone: Part of the IDZ, this zone provides world-class facilities and technical support for propagating, growing, packing and distributing high-value perishables and horticultural products through an efficient supply chain; and

“Dube iConnect: All these zones are supported by Dube iConnect, the precinct’s dedicated IT and telecommunications provider and KZN’s only locally-hosted cloud service, making it the premier offering for regional data recovery.”

Overseeing the development opportunities at Dube TradePort is a challenging role, one that has been handed to the Saven van Coller, Dube TradePort Corporation’s CEO since March 2013.

The organisation’s April 2014 newsletter Dube Times, explained the qualities that van Coller brings to her role:

“The Dube TradePort Corporation Board says van Coller’s strength lies in her ability to turn around battling businesses and to take thriving businesses to new levels of success. Her secret lies in her talent of bringing operations, strategy and people together.

“In terms of Dube TradePort Corporation, van Coller stresses that her appointment was more about taking a great existing business model and 10 years of planning and turning Dube TradePort into a serious player and key stakeholder in KwaZulu-Natal’s business environment.

“Since taking up the reins, van Coller has focused on the precinct’s 60-year Masterplan and positioning Dube TradePort as KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government’s flagship project, illustrating that private-public partnerships do work.

“Theoretically the Government-owned Dube TradePort is playing in a private sector business space. The challenge for van Coller has been to instil in all members of staff a private sector business approach to their every action and activity.”

Van Coller was quick to recognise the importance of developing a solid platform for the future growth and success of Dube TradePort: “Vital for a successful and sustainable public-private partnership venture are sound business principles, good corporate governance, water-tight procurement processes and clean audits,” she stated.

One of Dube TradePort’s strengths is that it was developed from scratch as a purpose-planned ‘Greenfield’ project, which gave developers the opportunity to locate the site to its greatest advantage, surrounding King Shaka International Airport. The IDZ is also a mere 10 minute drive from strategic and economically flourishing areas such as Ballito and Umhlanga and of course is able to utilise modern technology and equipment.

“It is precisely this competitive advantage that Dube TradePort is selling and that businesses and investors are buying into,” van Coller asserted.

The operation’s main 5 focus areas, namely: Dube City, Dube TradeZone, Dube Cargo Terminal, Dube AgriZone and Dube iConnect, all enjoyed a successful 2013/14 financial year, which saw private sector investment in both Dube TradeZone and Dube AgriZone, effectively beginning the overall precinct’s transformation from an infrastructural development to a highly competitive business operating environment.

“The TradeZone has been an absolute catalyst and a win for Dube TradePort,” van Coller confirmed – and the first phase of the TradeZone is anticipated to generate up to R1 billion in private sector investment.

At the time of writing, an exciting development is about to take place, as President Jacob Zuma is poised to officially launch the declaration of Dube Tradeport in Durban as an Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) and also hand over the Operator Permit to the Dube Tradeport Corporation on October 7th.

The main areas that have designated as Dube TradePort Industrial Development Zone are Dube AgriZone and Dube TradePort. Dube AgriZone which is about 63.5 hectares, focuses on high-value, niche agricultural and horticultural products while Dube TradeZone (240.27 hectares), focuses on manufacturing and value-addition primarily for automotive, electronic and fashion garments and similar high value, time-sensitive products and inputs.

President Zuma will launch the Dube TradePort IDZ during a period of transition wherein Industrial Development Zones as governed by the Manufacturing Development Act will become Special Economic Zones (SEZ) under the new Special Economic Zones Act 16 of 2014. The Act has been assented to by the President, and will come into effect before the end of 2014 after a pronouncement by the President through a notice in the Government Gazette.

The long-term prospects for Dube TradePort look excellent and it is anticipated that it will take between 3 and 5 years before measurable results can be seen on the positive impact of the initiative.

“In the longer five to 10-year time-frame, the goal is to ensure that Dube TradePort is at the heart of a successful aerotropolis and that the facilities that have been built are an excellent match for the environment. To achieve this, van Coller is categorical that the facilities need to be sustainable, synergistic and supportive of business, while being environmentally sensitive and capable of enhancing the local communities within the Province’s northern development belt,” the website describes.