A key intermodal logistics region on the outskirts of eThekwini has steadily grown over the last decade, and, writes Jonathan Erasmus, it is positioned to benefit from key state-led infrastructural developments that are finally starting to take shape.
Hammarsdale and Cato Ridge are well positioned to benefit from the massive multi-billion-rand N3 upgrades being undertaken by the South African National Roads Agency Limited, which was delayed for more than a decade. The upgrade is primarily aimed at entrenching the Port of Durban as a key export/import hub for the country and much of southern Africa.
The growth rests on a handful of key elements that the area possesses, namely flat erven, uncomplicated access to energy, and the fact that Cato Ridge is the first place outside the port precinct where all three forms of mass transport intersect – the N3 for road, freight rail infrastructure, and Transnet’s multi-purpose pipeline.
A leading voice in the area’s growth is the Hammarsdale Cato Ridge Development Association (HCRDA), a firm-led initiative that draws on leadership and expertise of individuals from a broad range of firms, the community and eThekwini Municipality. The association consists of 52 members employing in excess of 9 000 people.
John White, CEO of the HCRDA said the green shoots that the area is producing are “exciting” and bode well for the future.
“Logistic firms based in this area save more than an hour in travel time to Johannesburg, and you can better manage access to Bayhead (Port of Durban). Furthermore, operators based here are able to deal directly with Eskom which brings reduced costs as onward selling municipalities always add a mark-up. This saving alone for a power-hungry enterprise is massive,” said White.
The HCRDA’s vision, said White, is to advance Hammarsdale and Cato Ridge as a “desirable place to work and live, thereby supporting growth, employment and transformation.”
This vision can be seen taking shape in just a sample of the new developments underway.
For instance, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed RCL Foods, which owns the brand Rainbow Chickens, is reintroducing the second shift at its primary processing plant in Cato Ridge as well as pursuing the development of broiler out growers which will strengthen the entire agri-value chain.
Meanwhile the Newlyn Group – whose focus is on creating “efficient storage facilities in close proximity to coastal and inland logistics hubs” – has a development underway for an approximately 20-hectare logistics and light industry complex.
Also, in August container and shipping giant Maersk completed its first phase in the development of their Cato Ridge reefer depot. They have built a 25 000m² reefer depot to handle refrigerated and non-refrigerated containers with a further 15 000m² to be developed at a later stage.
Furthermore, JSE-listed multinational Pepkor and owner of the Pep chain store, is close to completing its R1,5-billion logistics hub at Keystone Business Park. Pepkor joins a host of other major household name companies already based in the region such as Ackermans, Mr Price Group, and Value Logistics.
It is no coincidence that all of this is taking place within close proximity to the proposed dry port, sometimes referred to as an inland port.
The eThekwini Metropolitan has for over a decade included the development of the dry port in its Integrated Development Plan noting it as a “catalyst for the Cato Ridge nodal development” capable of creating jobs and driving the local economy. At the forefront of the dry port initiative is the Cato Ridge Logistics Hub Consortium.
The consortium’s CEO Warwick Lord, who has been involved in the process for nearly a decade, told KZN Invest that the scale and size of the proposed dry port has “never been attempted before on the African continent”.Lord said while the shipping industry and import/export volumes have grown considerably over several decades, the Durban port’s handling capacity has not, leading to regular port delays. He said this has created the need for an “intermodal or dry port solution” that would ease congestion.
Lord said the consortium has four main focus areas. These are: the development of a truck stop and staging hub to control access to both the Cato Ridge Dry Port and the Durban port; the development of an intermodal facility whereby goods can be stored and transferred between road and rail; the development of logistic and industrial parks; and a tank farm to store carbon-based products such as petroleum.“In order to get a collaborative project like this off the ground, there are many, many role players who have to perform their function,” said Lord.
He said SANRAL has done its part and has co-designed and co-obtained all the required approvals for the construction of the proposed R1,8-billion N3 KwaXimba Interchange development which would then accelerate the dry port development.“There are discussions currently ongoing with the National Treasury, the eThekwini Metropolitan and the Department of Transport to finalise the funding of the interchange. We have also been advised that the Office of the Presidency is now involved in facilitating this process,” said Lord.
The CRLHC is also in the process of taking over the Catcon (Cato Ridge Container) rail siding after the conclusion of a long-term lease and operational agreements with Transnet. Lord said in terms of this agreement, the CRLHC is in the process of developing a road-to-rail terminal which would facilitate the large-scale rail movement of containers between Cato Ridge and the Durban port.
They are expected to take over the operations of the railway line in Cato Ridge within the next six months. The line is currently operated by the parastatal Transnet Freight Rail. White said he hoped that state-owned entities will continue to be open to mutually benefi cial partnerships. “This privately run inland rail terminal is a catalyst to get companies to locate here. The dry port is going to be realised in a staged approach. There is often the expectation that it will suddenly happen but instead it will grow as the infrastructure allows for it,” said White.
FOR MORE INFO
On November 10 the HCRDA hosted the Outer West Investment Conference as part of its strategy to help businesses connect at a high-level networking event.
For more information visit www.hcrda.org/activities.
Fixing the hell run
The South African National Roads Agency is currently on a massive R28-billion drive to upgrade the N3 and N2 leading towards Durban.
The N3 is, however, a priority as it is South Africa’s main freight and logistics corridor linking the country’s busiest port to Gauteng.
The Port of Durban accounts for 40% of the country’s imports and exports, of which 80% is transported to Gauteng. The N3 is also a vital link to the rest of southern Africa.
There are currently three active projects on this stretch, namely from Cato Ridge to Dardanelles’ Interchange (often referred to as the Umlaas Road Interchange); the Dardanelles’ Interchange to Lynnfi eld Park; and Lynnfi eld Park to Ashburton.
All of these sections have been identified as bottlenecks. The upgrades, estimated to be the combined cost of R4-billion, will see the roads widened to between four and six lanes. The N3 on this key route carries an estimated 50 000 vehicles a day. These three projects began in 2021 and are expected to run for at least another two years. Meanwhile, SANRAL has published a tender notice for the development and construction of the stretch of road from the Hammarsdale Interchange to towards the BP Ridge Oasis Convenience Centre.
Hammarsdale Cato Ridge Development Association
Across the country, concerned citizens and organisations are increasingly collaborating through entities such as Business Chambers, Special Rating Areas, Urban Improvement Precincts and Ratepayers Associations. The Outer West of Durban is no different with the Hammarsdale Cato Ridge Development Association (HCRDA) being formed in January 2021, comprising 16 members. Its vision was and is to make Hammarsdale and Cato Ridge a better place to work and live, thereby supporting growth, employment, and transformation. Less than two years on, with 52 members, including four Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed members, it has made a number of strides towards this vision.
Activities to date include: 1 000m² of road has been repaired, 6 000 local work seekers are listed on a free-to-use recruitment platform, regular engagements with local councillors and civil servants take place, South African Police Service and Community Policing Forums are supported, all major access routes are covered by Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, local black-owned Small Medium and Micro Enterprises are registered on a directory and HCRDA has made numerous connections with these SMMEs and its members, regular expert presentations and peer visits support innovation and greater collaboration amongst members.
MORE INFO: www.hcrda.org | firstname.lastname@example.org | 087 147 2531.
“Westown is the new city of the west – a ground-breaking, locally-driven initiative that connects people with spaces and experiences, bringing new opportunities to live, work and thrive,” says Carlos Correia, CEO of Fundamentum.
The Shongweni area has a unique character in terms of its topography and history. Borrowing from the natural beauty of the area, characterised by extensive green spaces and outdoor pastimes, this is a place that will develop organically and according to the needs of the people who live there.
The upgrade of Kassier Road is long overdue and the commitment by the city to the funding of this work has enabled Westown to begin development. This upgrade, along with supporting bulk infrastructure (water, wastewater, electricity) has been triggered by the first phase of Westown’s development.
A retail high-street offering with open and convenient spaces that connect people to shopping, dining, commercial and recreational amenities, this project is widely recognised as a catalyst for the upliftment of the entire region.
“Supported by all three spheres of government, as well as the leadership from surrounding communities and local businesses, we are grateful for the patience and belief of our neighbours and stakeholders, who are working with us to ensure Westown becomes a true asset for the area.
“As part of Fundamentum’s commitment to the long-term success of Westown, The Westown Foundation has been set up to facilitate and amplify local socio-economic opportunities that the development will create in the surrounding communities,” concludes Correia.
Rob McInerney and Peter Edmonds of Share-List Property have been focusing on industrial and logistics properties in the Upper Highway areas of the N3 Corridor, around Hammarsdale and Cato Ridge, for nearly 15 years.
They have developed strong relationships with most of the property owners, as well as the large developers such as the Cato Ridge Logistics Hub Consortium, Keystone Park, Hammarsdsale Industrial Park and Spurwing Park.
They also have a lot of complementary business experience and are therefore well placed to assist you in finding the property that best suits your needs whether it is for warehousing, factories, truck staging or vacant land for development. As industrial and logistics property specialists, they strongly believe that the N3 Corridor is the best location for access, via road and rail networks, to the current Durban port but more importantly to the Cato Ridge Dry Port and the rest of the country.The availability of well-priced zoned industrial and logistics land, with power directly from Eskom, further enhances the attractiveness of the N3 Corridor.
Their passion for and knowledge of the area has assisted them to sell and lease more industrial and logistics property in Hammarsdale and Cato Ridge than all other brokerages combined, and they would love to assist you with your specific requirements in the area.
They have well-priced rental and purchase options in some of the older industrial parks as well as options for state-of-the-art turnkey developments within the newer and proposed logistics precincts.
Catchway Properties first invested in Hammarsdale at the end of 2015, purchasing redundant Rainbow Chicken farms. At that time rumours had just started circling about Mr Price developing a DC in the area and a planned new interchange both of which promised to be major catalysts for development and interest in the area.
A few short years later and both are complete along with many other multi-million-rand projects, with things only set to get bigger and better. These investments, as well as others, have put a peg in the sand to mark a feasible and functional place to be and do business.
During this time, Catchway has developed our site from a single tenant to more than 15 other businesses – all new to the area. The planning for the Hammarsdale Industrial Park development has taken five years, but we finally got our SPLUMA approval with help from the eThekwini Development Unit.
The Catchway team employed from the area has increasingly grown in conjunction with their skills and abilities. Likewise, we have witnessed multiple employment and skills development opportunities come to local labour via the establishment of new businesses.
Major factors driving demand are space, size of sites, the cost to acquire land and infrastructure. A shortage of industrial land in areas like the Port, Riverhorse, Westmead, etc, are forcing developers and end-users alike to look elsewhere. A large part of the demand is for operations requiring large platformed sites such as logistics businesses, container depots, warehousing and vehicle storage, the likes of which are popping up in grand scale along the corridor.
Businesses are often looking for sites ranging from 10 000m² to over 100 000m² of single-level platformed land which is hard to find. Hammarsdale and Cato Ridge provide some of the most practical and economical, natural land formations to accommodate platforms of this size and in quantity.
In terms of pricing, the outer west is offering serviced platformed sites from R1 000/m-R1 600/m compared to R2 500-R3 000/m in some of the more developed industrial nodes, making it a lot more appetising to end-users as well as drawing in tenants to lower rental rates.