East London growth hinges on R5bn terminal
The East London industrial development zone (Elidz), which yesterday announced new investment worth R395 million, creating 578 jobs, needs a new R5 billion container terminal at the port to boost its prospects.Simphiwe Kondlo, Elidz's chief executive, said that the port was a bottleneck for future growth and any delays in getting funding for the port would hinder the zone's chances of securing further investment.The zone has four investors: in farming, logistics, and two automotive component manufacturers. Combined with the seven new investors in its automotive supplier park and logistics service providers, the total investment in the zone is R755 million with 1 118 direct jobs being created.
The automotive supplier park is where the key suppliers for Daimler Chrysler South Africa's export contract of the new W204 C-Class Mercedes Benz will be based. These suppliers are already moving into the zone and will begin operating in the next few weeks.Kondlo said the automotive sector was strategic for the province, as half of the 110 000 people employed in the sector nationally were in the Eastern Cape.Transnet's board has considered the East London port expansion proposal, but cannot accommodate it in its R25 billion investment programme over the next five years. Instead, Transnet sanctioned the formation of a lobby group to raise funds directly from the government, according to Terry Taylor, a spokesperson for the National Ports Authority (NPA) at the East London port.