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Newlyn launches R3.4bn multimodal rail terminal at Durban port

Newlyn PX Bayhead rail terminal launch

President Cyril Ramaphosa at the launch

5th April 2024

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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Port logistics company the Newlyn Group on April 4 unveiled the Newlyn PX Bayhead rail terminal, strategically located next to the Port of Durban, aimed at opening intra-Africa and local trade and investment opportunities.

“This is a major milestone for South Africa and showcases what can be achieved when the private sector and government work together for the future of our country and her people,” Newlyn CEO Raj Balmakhun said.

In attendance at the unveiling was President Cyril Ramaphosa, who highlighted the completion and launch as a much-needed boost to South Africa’s logistics infrastructure network, as well as a symbol of recovery and resilience for the city of Durban, for the eThekwini metro, for KwaZulu-Natal, and for the country at large.

“Upgrading local port infrastructure is critical to the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and this new terminal will facilitate the swift movement of goods from South Africa to the continent and beyond,” he said.

The unveiling follows an initial investment commitment of R3.1-billion made by Newlyn following the 2019 South African Investment Conference.

The rail terminal development, currently valued at R3.4-billion, facilitates the movement of sea, rail and road cargo through a multimodal hub to assist with the handling, storage, loading and movement of a variety of cargo types, including hard and soft commodities in bulk and breakbulk, containerised cargo and project cargo.

Prior to this, there was no large-scale rail- and road-connected facility of sufficient scale and proximity to the Port of Durban to manage the high level of flow of cargo by sea, road and rail traffic needed to unlock the North and landlocked Southern African trade corridors, Newlyn said.

“We have updated limited and ageing infrastructure at one of Africa’s busiest ports and have drawn on international best practice in modern rail terminal design to accommodate seven block trains of 50 wagons each simultaneously.

“The added rail capacity accelerates the movement of cargo from road to rail, adding immense new opportunities for businesses, local economies and supply chains,” said Newlyn chief value officer Firdhose Coovadia.

Newlyn emphasised that the considerable potential of the AfCFTA could also be capitalised on.

“AfCFTA promotes industrialisation and diversification of economies by encouraging the development of regional value chains and the manufacturing sector. Congested and poorly functioning ports hold back the immense benefits of intra-African trade, but solutions like ours ensure more trade, more industrial activity and more jobs,” said Coovadia.

Integration of local business and communities and skills transfer were mentioned as critical throughout the development. As many as 4 013 direct jobs were created during construction and more than 1 000 full-time jobs have been created during the operations phase.

“These jobs are growing each quarter given the ramp-up of cargo through the facility,” said Balmakhun.

The facility already processes about 1 400 truck gate movements each day, handles about 380 000 t of cargo each month and is growing quarter-on-quarter.

Commodities handled at the terminal include copper, project cargoes and equipment, cobalt, paper, fertiliser, renewable energy project cargo, zinc and mining reagents.

The terminal comprises seven separate warehousing units (PX 1-7), four of which are on long lease to global logistics major C Steinweg Bridge and three of the units to another global bulk logistics company, Access World.

The land on which the rail terminal has been developed is leased from State-owned operator Transnet on long lease.

The development comprises about 640 000 m2 including 350 486 m2 under cover and 267 865 m2 of yard, rail siding and other infrastructure, making it one of the largest multi-modal rail terminals in the southern hemisphere, Newlyn pointed out.

 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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