Coega flooding starts

Jul 1, 2004
Author: P&S

The new port of Ngqura at Coega on the eastern Cape coast, which is about 20km from Port Elizabeth was partially flooded yesterday in preparation for the final flooding and official ceremony later in July.

The new port adjacent to the Coega Industrial Development Zone will provide an alternative deepwater port on the southern African coast, although to date potential anchor tenants have declined from taking the bait and relocating their industries to Coega, leaving uncertainty over who will actually use the port once it is completed in 2005.

The port (official name is Ngqura, pronounced Inkuga (with a click sound for the Ngq and a guttural g) will have five berths at the end of stage 1 – two for container ships of up to 4,500-TEU capacity, two dry bulk berths and one wet bulk (tanker) berth. The adjacent IDZ remains spelt the conventional way as Coega, with a similar pronunciation or simply Kuga with the guttural g. Still confused? Blame the bureaucrats in government and the National Ports Authority.

“With the harbour, Coega is able to provide a seamless integrated solution to manufacturers, assemblers and logistics operators,” says the Coega Development Corporation’s acting CEO, Khwezi Tiya.

“The Coega IDZ is already served by direct road and rail links to the rest of southern Africa, as well as the nearby Port Elizabeth international airport. Thanks to the far-sighted investment in the port of Ngqura by the National Ports Authority, the Coega IDZ will also have a deep-water harbour that, we are assured, will be able to take commercial shipping by the middle of 2005.

According to Tiya the CDC is in advanced discussions with potential investors in the metallurgical, automotive and textile industries, in addition to Canadian aluminium group Alcan, which says it will make a decision on a 600,000 tonne smelter at Coega before the end of 2004.

“It is important to realise that Coega is bigger than any single investor, says Tiya. “In the first phase, we have over 6,000 hectares of land ready for development. Global competition for the kind of investment we want is tough, but we believe that Coega has a number of unique strengths, including the deep-water port of Ngqura.”

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