The Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (SBIDZ) is embarking on the R3.5-billion first phase of an eventual seven-phase infrastructure investment project.
The first-phase 356 ha expansion is integral to national and regional infrastructure development and will also be the single largest project that government has launched in the Western Cape.
SBIDZ CEO Kaashifah Beukes says an environmental impact assessment for Phase 1 is under way, the results of which should be published by August next year. This follows market demand analysis, technical costing and designs and an economic assessment that have been concluded.
SBIDZ is South Africa’s first and only special economic zone (SEZ) that is located within a port and includes a freeport, or customs-controlled area regime. The port also happens to be the largest and deepest natural port in the southern hemisphere.
The SEZ’s cost-benefit analysis on Phase 1 of the project comprises indicative designs based on preliminary options analysis of an investor pipeline, economic and financial modelling and commercial modelling.
Beukes confirms that the SBIDZ has a pipeline of 52 investors, of which 11 have signed lease agreements, with an investment value of R3.2-billion, while 18% of the gross area has been leased. She reckons that investment could grow to R23-billion by 2030.
From the SEZ’s technical evaluation work, SBIDZ has determined that Phase 1 will focus on marine services jetties, a floating dock and ship lift facilities, since it will enable the centre zone of the port and Transnet National Ports Authority to offer a greater variety of services to local and international customers.
Four projects have been earmarked for the port’s South Western Precinct, Beukes explains, with a capital cost of R3.5-billion.
Beukes points out that the approach to catalyse investment towards these projects is to conceptualise them as a long-term partnership between government, its institutions and the private sector.
This transaction model has proven the best way to fund long-term assets in a competitive environment. The SBIDZ has begun the formal process of submitting this project to the Investment and Infrastructure Office (IIO) in the Office of the Presidency, supported by the National Treasury, for inclusion in the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa.
The IIO coordinates and aligns the various structures responsible for economic and social infrastructure.
In light of this, the office is mandated to provide a collaborative platform that will bring together all stakeholders with a vested interest in infrastructure development, unlock regulatory and other bottlenecks, and accelerate decision-making for high-priority investments to be speedily and efficiently implemented.
Beukes tells Engineering News that Phase 1 of the infrastructure project will create about 10 000 jobs at the height of construction, while 6 000 jobs will be created in the operational phase.
"Our mission is to create an internationally-recognised zone catering specifically to oil and gas, maritime fabrication and repair, shipbuilding, fuel storage, logistics and related support services," she states.
The SEZ will continue to provide substantial additional socioeconomic benefits for the region, particularly as this new infrastructure takes hold in the freeport and increases the port’s capacity and competitive position to attract vessels, increase trade and all manner of supporting services and industry.