Construction of the bulk of the infrastructure has commenced at the Tambo Springs Logistics Gateway.
The project has been several years in the making and made news last year when Transnet awarded a 20-year concession to design, finance, build and operate a major intermodal terminal that is part of the development of this larger multi-modal logistics hub. The landowner and master developer is the Tambo Springs Development Company.
The logistics gateway, situated in Ekurhuleni, is projected to double current freight logistics capacity in and out of Gauteng.
“We are very excited about the developments on site,” said Tumi Mohulatsi, CEO of the Tambo Springs Development Company. “Construction of the infrastructure by the Ekurhuleni Metro is well under way. It is the first step in delivering our vision of a next -generation logistics gateway that will combine direct terminal handling facilities as well as back-of-terminal property development and related value-add logistics services and activities.”
Mohulatsi said the development, when completed, would be the largest of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, with customs clearance capabilities and the benefits of a special economic zone.
“The development of the Tambo Springs Intermodal Rail Terminal will ensure that current and future container traffic is efficiently and appropriately serviced on rail, alleviating the existing and projected pressure on the national road infrastructure.”
Container volumes have been consistently increasing into Gauteng, exacerbating existing congestion problems. The dramatic decline in rail usage and the excessive use of road for freight transportation have seen logistics costs continue to rise.
Tambo Springs is planned to handle 550 000 TEUs per annum, which will make a significant contribution to dealing with growth in container movement.
While progress on the project to date has been slow, the start of construction is seen as a significant milestone. There’s optimism that the project will now gain traction in the market.
According to Mohulatsi, location of the gateway adds to the value. “It is strategically located on the southern border of the Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni metropolis and is directly connected by road and rail between Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Ngqura. It will include industrial and logistics areas, rail access, secure and bonded locations, and connect to the main transportation corridors.
He said Tambo Springs was part of the government’s Strategic Infrastructure Project 2 aimed at developing growth-supporting infrastructure along the Durban-Free State-Gauteng corridor.
“Additionally, it forms part of the Gauteng Integrated Transport Master plan. The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport will construct a new interchange on the N3 and an additional arterial from Tambo Springs to the national road infrastructure. Budgets for this have been approved and tenders for construction are currently being adjudicated.”
According to Mohulatsi, once completed, the gateway will have easy access to major road and rail networks linking strategic sea ports, the OR Tambo International Airport, and industries in the province.
“Tambo Springs goes beyond the creation of a traditional industrial park. It will provide an efficient environment that facilitates manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics activities,” he said. “In addition, the project has the potential to create much-needed employment in a post-Covid- 19 environment, acting as a catalyst for growth - not just in the province, but southern Africa. The initiative has the potential to provide a living to approximately 140 000 people in the Gauteng, KZN and Eastern Cape provinces.”
It further creates a model which promotes the reshoring of the industrial base, which has been lost in parts, while motivating intra-African trade.