SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

28 July 2014

South Africa: Investors Drive Contruction Boom At Coega

Seven companies with committed investments totalling over R3-billion have projects under construction at the Coega industrial development zone in the Eastern Cape, providing contruction-related jobs to over 1 800 residents of Nelson Mandela Bay.

"Construction expansion of existing businesses is sign of current investors' business growth and an improving economic climate," Coega Development Corporation spokesperson Ayanda Vilakazi said in a statement last week.

Companies with projects under construction include a local-international consortium headed by French firm GDF Suez (a R2.2-billion investment), industrial gas companies Afrox (R300-million) and Air Products (R300-million), and logistics companies Vector Logistics (R140-million), Digistics Digital Logistics (R30-million), ID Logistics (R30-million) and UTi Distribution (R30-million).

GDF Suez, along with Japanese company Mitsui and various local partners, is building the 335-megawatt (MW) Dedisa peaking power plant, one of the first large-scale non-renewable energy projects involving an independent power producer in South Africa.

Vilakazi said that more than a third of the project had been completed so far, adding that the plant - besides generating roughly half of Nelson Mandela Bay's power requirement - would "provide value added assistance to a number of growing industries established in the IDZ".

Afrox, meanwhile, is one track to complete its new air separation unit in the fourth quarter of this year. The 150-ton per day unit will produce a variety of industrial gases for the automotive, food processing and medical sectors, and will give Afrox direct access to customers throughout the province, where it has an established customer base.

Air Products' air separation unit is also on schedule, Vilakazi said, and is expected to be fully operational before the end of the year.

In May, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) reported that it had secured just over R1.8-billion in investments from 10 clients across a range of industries in 2013/14.

Christopher Mashigo, business development executive at the CDC, said Coega was "becoming a springboard into the local and international retail sector, and talks to why we actually have industrial development zones in the first place".

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