This year’s KwaZulu-Natal Industrial Technology Exhibition (Kite) will provide businesses in the province with an ideal access route to the key resources required to ramp up their operations in line with government’s extensive and ongoing investment in new manufacturing endeavours.
Exhibition organiser Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery MD Gary Corin adds that this includes the strategic growth of the identified Industrial Development and Special Economic Zones (IDSEZs).
“Building a better KwaZulu-Natal is one of the primary focal points of Kite. It is the province’s leading event for providing pivotal opportunities to visitors to experience industrial technology in action and discuss high-quality, customised solutions. For anybody tasked with sourcing solutions to expand existing operations or establish new plants, Kite is the one event that should not be missed.”
Corin highlights that KwaZulu-Natal’s manufacturing sector is the second largest in South Africa, after Gauteng, contributing more than 16% to manufacturing’s contribution to gross domestic product and accounting for 20% of all South African employment in the manufacturing sector. The largest manufacturing industries in the province are the automotive and components sector, pulp and paper products, plastics, chemicals and petrochemicals, as well as food and beverage.
Additionally, the region is home to two of the continent’s largest ports: Richards Bay and Durban, with the latter being the largest port in the Southern African Development Community, handling 80-million twenty-foot equivalent units a year. KwaZulu-Natal, moreover, has three identified IDSEZs – Richards Bay, Dube TradePort and Durban TradePort.
Corin notes that, like other regions in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal’s industrial sector has been negatively influenced by decreasing consumer demand in recent years. This, in turn, has led to lowered sales, as well as increased costs, as a result of decreased economies of scale. Further, the cost of air freight and ocean shipping have increased, owing to a drive to reduce maritime emissions.
“In addition, the province lags behind other areas in terms of employment levels, wages, household incomes and municipal services.”
There are, however, some key areas that have been identified by government as critical in providing economic upliftment in the province. KwaZulu-Natal’s mineral sands and coal mines are currently a small economic sector and Corin points out that there is great scope for this industry to be developed through increased beneficiation of minerals.
“Government also encourages the growth of smaller entrepreneurs in this sector by offering incentives to large mining companies to use the services and products of these smaller companies at the upstream stages of the supply chain.”
In addition, a number of new and upgraded manufacturing plants have come on line, with continuing investment in the three IDSEZs set to continue this expansion process. On May 18, then KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu also announced that the provincial government had acquired a 1 000 ha tract of land on the banks of the Illovo river that will be used as the future home to the province’s first automotive supplier park.
Event Aids Action
Targeting those who are looking to take advantage of these development opportunities in the region, Kite provides a showcasing of the latest industrial technology solutions that can enhance productivity and increase uptime. The event attracts a typical visitor footfall of more than 5 000 attendees, including engineers, plant managers and practitioners involved in the manufacturing, occupational health and safety, chemicals and petrochemicals, plastics, agriculture, automotive and metal, as well as the minerals processing sectors.
“As the region’s largest industrial technology exhibition, Kite fulfils a number of visitor goals and is underpinned by investment in the province’s growth strategy through the introduction of targeted industrial technology,” says Corin.
He adds that no other exhibition in KwaZulu-Natal covers such an array of industrial technological development and visitors are invited to experience each element of the manufacturing, agricultural and process environment through a combination of displays and information sharing. “Kite provides visitors with an unrivalled opportunity to see new and updated technologies and services that are geared towards business growth and sustainability and raising productivity levels.”
The event also provides a forum where visitors can interact with experts and the region’s leading suppliers and manufacturers of industrial technology to develop customised solutions. Live demonstrations of technologies further provide a comprehensive insight into current trends and practices.
“Owing to its concentrated three-day nature and the gathering of over 140 exhibitors addressing industry needs under one roof, the sourcing and purchasing cycle is also dramatically reduced. This leads to extensive time savings for visitors.”
Seminar sessions will also be presented by reputable industry specialists and additional attractions, such as the Lifting Equipment Association of South Africa conference and the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association special interest group, an interactive forum that will address the topic: The digital revolution – man or machine rules.
The Propak Pavilion – which will showcase packaging, food processing and labelling technology and services – will complete the exhibition experience.