Coega IDZ said six major construction projects were currently underway in the Coega IDZ, including the erection of a Chinese car and truck manufacturer First Automobile Works’ (FAW) plant, the Famous Brands’ cold storage plant, the DCD Group’s wind tower manufacturing plant and the addition of Coega Cheese onto the Coega Dairy outfit, among others.
Industrial gas company, Air Products South Africa, is also about to begin construction of its R300-million state-of-the-art air separation unit in Zone 3 in July, bringing the total number of projects being built to seven.
The Coega IDZ, located close to the bustling Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, is South Africa’s foremost investment hotspot for industries with a global perspective.
“The global economic climate is still not stable, yet investment continues to flow into the Coega IDZ and is literally taking root in the construction projects underway,” said Ayanda Vilakazi, Coega Development Corporation (CDC) head of marketing and communications.
Vilakazi said Coega IDZ currently had 20 operational investors, and once all seven construction projects were complete, the area will be up to 27 operational investors by mid-2014.
The Famous Brands project, he said, is nearing completion and the company was given access to the warehouse portion in the first week of May allowing its service provider to start with racking on the warehouse floor. The warehouse is operational and Famous Brands will move its stock into the cold storage unit on June 10.
“Everything is on track, with timeframes tight but on target to be met. The project is still well within original time, cost and quality parameters set – despite loss of a number of days due to inclement weather, mainly wind and rain,” said Bruno Ponzi, CDC senior project manager for infrastructure development.
The company – which owns the likes of Steers and Debonairs – was also given access to the ground floor of the office block portion this week, with the balance of the building due for hand over on June 21. Once delivered Famous Brands would become the newest operational tenant in the Coega IDZ.
Vilakazi said Famous Brands was a prime example of the short conversion times investors experience from the point of signing a lease with the CDC to full operation.
“The turnaround times are much quicker now than they were a couple of years ago and we are able to construct buildings for investors relatively quickly, meaning that they move to operational phase within about a year of signing, depending on this size of the project,” said Vilakazi.
In addition, the construction activity is creating needed jobs on the city, particularly on the FAW site, with the R200-million FAW construction project well underway.
To date about 304 construction jobs have been created on its site, a number that grows week to week. In total the construction phase will see about 2000 jobs generated over the year-long duration. In the operation phase of the truck assembling plant, a further 280 jobs will also be created.