Bidvest makes big investment in Durban

Feb 28, 2005
Author: P&S

More than R100 million worth of investment in the port of Durban in the next 6 - 12 months will follow the signing of new leases between Bidfreight and the National Ports Authority (NPA).

That was the word last week from Bidvest chief executive Brian Joffe and the Bidfreight management team after more than 40 old leases involving various properties in the Maydon Wharf and Island View areas of the port were consolidated into nine. The contracts did not include Bidfreight’s coal terminal at the Bluff, which is the subject of separate negotiations.

Brian Joffe, Bidvest chief executive on board Isiponono – picture Terry Hutson

According to Anthony Dawe, Bidfreight Terminals MD, work on taking down a number of old sheds near the Bidfreight Forest Products Terminal on Maydon Wharf 15 will begin immediately and replaced with modern warehousing.

He said the investment was possible now only because of the security of tenure that the new leases brought.

“The new leases are based on market related values and will cost Bidfreight R33M a year, which is considerably higher than before but will allow us to consolidate and improve our properties along this sector of Maydon Wharf and elsewhere in the port.”

Dawe said Bidfreight also had the option of negotiating the handling of additional or new commodities at the terminals in line with changing market conditions and trends - a factor not available previously.

“For example whenever we wanted to handle rice the answer was always no because rice was not included in our bulk terminal leases.”

Bidvest, which employs 82,000 people worldwide, is an international trading and distribution company that is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange and operates on three continents. With its roots in South Africa, Bidvest, through Bidfreight’s freight business units, focuses on freight terminals, international forwarding, logistics and marine services. In South Africa Bidfreight Terminals is a leading provider of storage and handling facilities for containerised, bulk and breakbulk cargoes in all the major ports.

the signing group on board the harbour vessel Isiponono – picture Terry Hutson
At the signing ceremony, which was conducted on board the NPA harbour boat Isiponono, Khomotso Phihlela, the acting CEO of NPA said the NPA would focus during the next five years on playing a key developmental role in the national economy.

“As a landlord, we are increasingly looking to accommodate new approaches to land management, a shift that inevitably points to a diversified port model. Our strategy in this regard will have to enable us to more efficiently and effectively discharge our development responsibilities.”

Phihlela announced that the NPA would spend in the region of R13.8 billion in port infrastructure over the next five years, of which R6.5Bn would be spent in the port of Durban. He said Maydon Wharf had been identified as an area with the potential of increasing cargo handling capacity and efficiency.

“The NPA has embarked on a lease commercialization process for the entire port system and the signing of the Bidvest leases marks a significant milestone in that regard.”



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