The proposed Tambo Springs Inland Port and Logistics Gateway is expected to be the largest inland port in Africa once completed, Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Dr Ismail Vadi has said.
Speaking at a post-Budget Vote media briefing, in Johannesburg, he indicated that the project’s development was progressing well and that it would come on stream in 2017, as Johannesburg’s current inland port City Deep reached capacity.
The inland port, which would be located along the N3, about 21 km from Heidelberg, would host all aspects of warehousing, distribution, manufacturing and shipping through enhanced supply-chain and operating efficiencies.
The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport was currently developing a terminal master plan for the project, as well as detailed road designs for the K148/N3 interchange.
The Tambo Springs Development Company (TSDC), which is developing the 1 037 ha multimodal freight gateway in partnership with government, expects to start construction on the inland port this year and finish the project by 2017.
The completion of Tambo Springs would result in Gauteng’s current freight logistics capacity doubling, the TSDC noted on its website.
Vadi said the freight hub would link road and rail transport to and from South Africa’s major freight routes and other freight hubs, including City Deep, which was about 33 km away.
The port could also possibly tie in to the proposed KwaZulu-Natal–Free State–Gauteng Industrial Freight Corridor, which would be developed by 2030 to shift cargo movement from road to rail.
The KwaZulu-Natal–Free State–Gauteng Industrial Freight Corridor formed part of the national Strategic Infrastructure Project (Sip) 2 being overseen by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission.
Tambo Springs could also connect to a proposed high-speed rail link between Johannesburg and Durban, revealed by Japan International Consultants for Transportation technology headquarters senior manager Yoshimasa Sakon earlier this year.
By 2050, the current Johannesburg–Durban rail system would carry freight volumes of 600 000 t/y, but with the development of the R160-billion high-speed rail route, based on Japan’s Shinkansen rail, volumes could reach between 2.5-million and 4.2-million tons a year.
Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Qedani Mahlangu previously forecast that, as the City Deep terminal reached its full capacity in 2016/17, the province would require additional container terminal capacity.
Container movements to the province were projected to grow to over three-million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year by 2020. This compared with Gauteng’s current intermodal capacity of 650 000 TEUs a year across the Pretcon, Vaalcon, Kascon and City Deep hubs.
By 2018, Tambo Springs was expected to handle 500 000 TEUs a year.
Further, the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport was progressing the expansion of City Deep in a public–public partnership with Transnet, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and the City of Johannesburg to ensure the terminal reaches its full potential.
Phase 1 of the City Deep project, which includes the City Deep/Kazerne Terminal expansion and roads upgrade, had been completed.
The planning for the expansion of the rail bridge, and the extension of the Bonsmara and Houer roads, as well as the construction of the Cleveland road bridge and ramps on the N17, was under way.
“We will be reorganising the entire road network with Sanral and the Johannesburg Roads Agency,” he said.
Transnet would invest a further R900-million for upgrading terminals and railway sidings.
Further, feasibility studies and master plan development for the development of the proposed Vaal Logistics Hub and the West Rand Freight and Logistics Hub were also currently under way.
Meanwhile, the department, which was in the process of establishing a Gauteng Transport Commission to ensure alignment and cooperation when integrating public transport systems between the different cities in the province, was getting ready to select consultants for its aerotropolis projects.
The proposed aerotropolis comprises the development of logistics hubs, retail outlets, residential and office developments, hotels and entertainment facilities, besides others, around OR Tambo International Airport, in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni.
The 30-year master plan for the development of an "airport city" over the next 10 to 20 years– being drawn up by a team led by Jack van der Merwe – was nearing completion, while a spatial development framework for region A, surrounding the airport, had been developed and adopted by Ekurhuleni’s Mayoral Committee, said Vadi.
The department was also formulating a preliminary road design plan, which would be “critical” for the speedy movement of goods and people in and around the proposed aerotropolis.