Major airports have become key nodes in global production and enterprise systems offering speed, agility, and connectivity. The recent rapid expansion at the King Shaka International Airport and surrounding Dube TradePort has made this a natural selection for further development into South Africa’s own Aerotropolis. This area is considered to becoming a major trade and business hub in Sub-Saharan Africa right on the doorstep of KwaZulu-Natal’s biggest city and primary manufacturing centre, Durban.
The logic behind the Aerotropolis concept is that airports offer connectivity to suppliers and customers across the globe. Many of the businesses around airports can often be more dependent on distant suppliers or customers than on those locally. The aerotropolis encompasses a range of commercial facilities supporting both aviation-linked businesses and the millions of air travellers who pass through the airport annually.
Given its unique location between two of Africa’s major seaports of – Durban and Richards Bay – its 32 000-acre ‘Greenfield’ site and the longest airport runway at sea-level in South Africa (3.7km), capable of accommodating the largest aircraft in the world, King Shaka offers the ideal site.
Durban is Africa's busiest port and the largest container facility in southern Africa, while Richard's Bay is the world's largest bulk coal terminal.
In addition, three components clearly set Aerotropolis-KZN apart, affording it a distinct competitive advantage over other South African and African destinations.
- Firstly, this is a freight-orientated development with world class cargo facilities, managed by a single handler and considered the most secure in Africa;
- Secondly, it is being purpose-built, especially within a radius of 7,5km around Dube TradePort; and
- Thirdly, this is one of few such developments around the world utilising a Greenfield site, with an additional 32 000 acres, ready for carefully planned and controlled development.
Located only 30km from Durban city centre, with a complete supply chain in place and improved trade capacity, King Shaka Airport has already secured enhanced connectivity and commerce for the region. Along with high speed optic fibre cables installed for super connectivity and highly efficient inter-modal logistics links, Dube Trade Port's Development Strategy will guide the development of the entire Airport City and create significant opportunities for all businesses.
Aerotropolis – KZN represents a unique opportunity to plan and develop an integrated, multi-modal hub from scratch, with each component designed for synergy and growth.
While the objective of the development is the facilitation of trade and economic development in the province as well as helping the airport to become the centre of an economic node, it will not only focus on profit. Dube Trade Port aims to address longer term environmental issues and ensure sustainability and viability of all the communities and areas involved in the development.
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