The Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) in Port Elizabeth is a hive of construction activity as new investors start laying the foundations for their developments, signalling the start of major industrial activity within the IDZ which will create hundreds of jobs.
The major construction works are by Chinese car and truck manufacturer First Automotive Works (FAW) and Africa’s leading quick service and casual dining restaurant franchisor, Famous Brands.
FAW is at the beginning stages of construction on its truck assembly plant in IDZ’s Zone 2 and Famous Brands’ distribution centre is also taking shape in Zone 1. Beyond the N2 in the Coega IDZ, construction is taking place at Coega Cheese, Agni Steels and the Rehau Extension in the Nelson Mandela Bay Logistics Park. Wind turbine parts manufacturer and industrial gas supplier Air Products will also start construction in the new financial year.
Ayanda Vilakazi, Coega Development Corporation spokesperson said: “Investor confidence in the Coega IDZ has shown significant growth, with a total of six new investors committing to the Coega IDZ in the latter half of 2012.
“The total overall investment value amounts to R1.7bn set to be injected into the regional Eastern Cape economy in the 2012-13 financial year alone,” he said.
Vilakazi said currently the Coega IDZ pipeline boasted R8bn in investment at different stages of implementation and permitting an overall pipeline of R140bn.
“By the second quarter of the new financial year, the Coega IDZ will have commenced with construction to the approximate value of R700m, with the current value of construction projects estimated at R350m. This means a great amount of opportunity for local businesses and in turn, significant job creation prospects,” said Vilakazi.
The FAW investment has been hailed as a major economic booster for the city, with an investment worth more than R600m. The first phase of construction is expected to generate about 500 permanent jobs with the plant’s initial annual output estimated at 5000 trucks.
Vilakazi said FAW construction was on schedule with work on foundations, columns and other activities progressing well. He said civil work was also on schedule and steel erection is expected to commence in mid-March.
The construction project is due for completion by the end of fourth quarter of 2013.
Famous Brands managing executive for logistics, Tony Stephens, said they are expecting their cold storage and distribution centre to be commissioned by June this year.
“Our distribution centre will comprise of state of the art multi-temperature facilities, offices for the regional management and staff and a staging area for the distribution fleet,” said Stephens
Vilakazi said from the date of construction commencement in December to February, 103 construction workers had been employed, with that number set to grow. The truck assembling facility is aiming for 5000 units for export (70%) and the local market (30%).