The Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone. Picture: HOME FRONT
The Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone. Picture: HOME FRONT

New investment agreements signed by the Saldanha Bay industrial development zone (IDZ) have brought the total number of signed investors to eight, with the investment value totalling just more than R3bn.

The Saldanha Bay IDZ, which is being developed into an offshore and maritime hub, is part of the department of trade and industry’s programme to establish special economic zones in each of the nine provinces.

Five of the investors are from the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with the rest being local companies. They are investing in a variety of fabrication workshops for steel and other metals, equipment and marine repair facilities, oil lubricant and fuel plants, as well as specialised engineering services.

The investors are targeting construction to start between March 2019 and March 2020.

“The investments signal a significant start of establishing new industrial value chains in and around the Port of Saldanha,” trade and industry minister Rob Davies said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The Saldanha Bay IDZ’s investment pipeline includes at least five more investments that are close to conclusion. If these are realised, they will add another R2.4bn of investment to the short- and medium-term outlook of the zone. The total investor pipeline includes around 40 additional interested companies in various stages of engagement,” he said.

Most of the major land-based infrastructure and some of the marine infrastructure for the zone has already been established and some of the design and commercial work for expanding the infrastructure offering with additional port facilities has begun in partnership with the Transnet National Ports Authority.  

Davies said his department and the Western Cape government had partnered with the Saldanha Bay municipality and larger companies on the West Coast to ensure that the new value chains have spin-off effects in terms of localised procurement and support for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises.

Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities Beverley Schäfer said the investments by local and international investors in the Saldanha Bay IDZ were a sign of confidence in the oil, gas and maritime sector and would contribute to opportunities for the development of small businesses in the region.

“We have already seen significant strides in skills development as a result of our focus on the oil and gas sectors and continued growth and investment has the potential for further skills development and job creation opportunities into the future,” she said.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za