Coega IDZ investors start building

14 March 2013

Investor confidence in South Africa’s Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) is growing, with six new investors committing to the IDZ in the second half of 2012, and new investments set to inject R1.7-billion into the Eastern Cape economy in 2012/13.

The IDZ is currently a hive of construction activity as new investors start laying the foundations for their developments.

“On either side of the Coega IDZ section of the N2 coastal highway – linking Port Elizabeth from east to west – are major construction works by Chinese car and truck manufacturer First Automotive Works (FAW) and Africa’s leading quick service and casual dining restaurant franchisor, Famous Brands,” the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) said in a statement last week.

FAW has begun construction on a truck assembly plant, while Famous Brands is building a 2 400 square metre cold storage and distribution centre.

Deeper within the IDZ, construction is also taking place at Coega Cheese, Agni Steels and the Rehau Extension in the Nelson Mandela Bay Logistics Park. Wind turbine parts manufacturer DCD and industrial gas supplier Air Products are also due to start construction in the new financial year, according the CDC.

“By the second quarter of the new financial year, the Coega IDZ will have commenced with construction to the approximate value of R700-million, with the current value of construction projects estimated at R350-million,” said CDC spokesperson Ayanda Vilakazi.

“This means a great amount of opportunity for local businesses and in turn, significant job creation prospects.”

The FAW investment, worth more than R600-million in total, has been hailed as a major coup for the province.

The initial R280-million investment in the first phase of the project, a truck assembly plant covering 10 hectares, is expected to create about 500 jobs during construction. Construction began in December and is due for completion by the end of the year.

Famous Brands, which supplies inventory to leading franchise stores such as Debonairs Pizza, Steers, Wimpy and Mugg and Bean, is also involved in Coega Cheese, a joint venture with Coega Dairy, which will see the launch of a cheese factory to supply cheese to Famous Brands franchise stores in the Eastern Cape.

Famous Brands managing executive for logistics, Tony Stephens, said their new cold storage and distribution centre, including state-of-the-art multi-temperature facilities, offices for regional management and staff, and a staging area for the distribution fleet, was due to be commissioned on 1 June.

On their decision to invest in the Coega IDZ, Stephens said the demographics suited Famous Brands’ store footprint. “The easy access to the highway enables us to get en route quickly to franchisees in the north, as far as Mthata and East London, those in close proximity to Port Elizabeth and as far south as the Garden Route.”

According to the CDC, the Coega IDZ is currently home to 21 operational investors, and has enabling the creation of 3 735 direct operational jobs and over 40 000 construction jobs in total.

SAinfo reporter