Every Friday morning, SAfm’s AMLive’s radio anchor Gillian De Gouveia speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:
De Gouveia: South Africa, next week, is going to begin exporting intricate diesel engine parts from Port Elizabeth. Tell us a bit about that.
Creamer: This is a feather in the cap for South Africa. The sophistication of these parts going into automotive industry, from the Struandale factory in Port Elizabeth, is a question of an export addendum to it. We are not only making these crankshafts and engine parts for South Africa, but two thirds of them are going to be exported going into Thailand and Argentina.
The actual diesel engines that are assembled down in Struandale are then used in the Ford Silverton factory for the Ranger. So that is not the end of the story as well, because those Rangers are going to be exported into Africa, Europe and other countries. It is part of our automotive DNA that we get involved in export from the manufacturing side and then the importers of cars earn these credits for coming in.
De Gouveia: In other interesting news you say that South Africa is setting world-class logistic standards from Kwa-Zulu Natal’s new high-tech air-hub.
Creamer: Yes, we have got to give credit to the Dube Tradeport, which is part of King Shaka. We don’t often talk about the Dube Tradeport, the focus is always on King Shaka, but what is coming out of Dube is really world-class. Not only is it so high-tech but never have we seen and agrizone attached to an airport before.
We know that things grow very well in Kwa-Zulu Natal, so why not turn that to account. The agrizone area there will see these greenhouses produce goods and vegetables that can be exported. We know exporting from the coast is also the best, because we had the situation of the wide-bottom aircraft that used to come up to Joburg here and then they would fly out from Johannesburg International into the world markets.
That is not always the ideal thing, because if it heats up at high level here, they sometime have to jettison the fruit of the aircraft, because it can’t take off with huge cargo loads. Now that we have got them down at the coast it can be a different story. We know that they are going to go into Dubai and possibly London.
These can stimulate a lot of agricultural activity within the KwaZulu-Natal province and this is a provincial initiative. It is not only that which is high-tech there, even the forklifts have got memories, they know where they’ve put various cargo during the week. Everything is done futuristically. Before they built this tradeport, they went to Singapore and Frankfort and said “what is the future airport going to look like”? That is what we’ve got in South Africa.
De Gouveia: Certainly very interesting. South Africa’s gas-to-liquids technology caught the eye of the Canadians.
Creamer: Here we have got that home grown technology that has been developed by Sasol and Sasol are taking it into Canada for shale-gas. Here we stopped from exploiting our shale-gas down in the Karoo, whereas the Canadians, a first world country, rolling out the red-cape for Sasol coming in there already invested R15-billion.
They can see the value of this gas-to-liquids because it gives you green diesel and that is what the world wants at the moment, it wants environmentally friendly fuels. Developed in South Africa, but we can’t do much more then what we are doing down at the refinery in the Southern Cape. Here a very important technology in South Africa going to be used in a first world country were we are not using it optimally in our own country.
De Gouveia: Well, we are going to have to leave it there this week, but we are certainly look forward to having you again next week. Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly, he’ll be back with us at the same time next week.