GLOBAL depot and port terminals operator APM Terminals officially opened for business yesterday, with a R25-million depot that could open doors for further investment in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The company is set to provide a range of services for dry and reefer containers, which includes repairs, handling, storage, monitoring and container changeovers.
They will also operate a trucking yard from the depot.
APM Terminals chief operations officer and director Imtiaz Mahomed- Ally said they were serious about providing this “essential service” from the Port of Ngqura.
“In today’s time of containerisation you need a strong landside operation or service levels will be affected and the cost of doing business will rise, paralysing our ability to compete on a global level,” he said.
“This is the main significance of being involved in South Africa – our ability to enhance competitiveness and high levels of service delivery.”
Mahomed-Ally said they had been eyeing the Coega IDZ as a site for expansion on the African continent, but were waiting for it to be fully operational and for shipping lines to commit to using the port before making their investment.
“This also represents a commitment from [us] and our sister companies Maersk and Safmarine. It shows that we are fully behind the success of both the Port of Ngqura and of the Coega IDZ going forward,” he said.
APM Terminals – a subsidiary of the Denmark-based APMM Group – operates depots and terminals in more than 156 countries and employs more than 24000 people.
The opening of the new terminal will create 20 permanent jobs and 15 seasonal jobs on a contract basis as well as opportunities for Port Elizabeth-based small businesses to benefit from the investment through various contracts.
Coega Development Corporation (CDC) spokesman Ayanda Vilakazi said the multimillion-rand investment showed the enabling potential of the Port of Ngqura and its linkage with the IDZ.
“When President Jacob Zuma officially opened the port earlier this year, we really hit a milestone – not only because the port was launched, but because of the huge implications of having a modern deep-water port adjacent to an IDZ which could finally be realised,” he said.
“This unique selling point is one of the positioning elements in our investor attraction and retention strategies. Now that the port is operational, viability of the IDZ is no longer a question but a hard-won reality that is seeing investors … capitalising on the port and [what] the IDZ is offering and their seamless interconnection.”
APM Terminals is also looking at investing in other parts of southern Africa, eyeing a depot in Beira, Mozambique, to add to its depots in Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Walvis Bay.