Grindrod breaks ground at the R 105 million Umlaas Road AutoPort Project

22 January 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202017659

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Grindrod breaks ground at the R 105 million Umlaas Road AutoPort Project
From left: Mayor Eric Ngcongo and Cllr Nonhlanhla Maphanga of the Mkhambathini local municipality, Xolani Mbambo CFO Grindrod Limited, Andrew Waller CEO Grindrod Limited and Grant Bahlmann General Manager Grindrod Automotive

JSE listed freight logistics heavyweight, Grindrod Limited, has begun construction of what it describes as a “state-of-the-art AutoPort”, just off the N3 in Camperdown.

According to the company, the 270 000sqm property is ideally situated between Pinetown and Pietermaritzburg.

“The Natcor rail link between Durban and Johannesburg runs adjacent to the property and provides for rail siding opportunities - for rail options both to and from the AutoPort. Transnet Freight Rail are making good progress on the integration works,” Grindrod said in a statement.

This first of a kind facility for finished vehicle logistics in South Africa, includes reticulation for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EL/PHEV), metal roofing to mitigate fire and hail, fully equipped workshop and fitment centre, smart repairs facility, clearing and forwarding activities, bonded and duty paid storage, storage for trucks, light motor vehicles and other rubber tired vehicular equipment.

According to the company, the emphasis has been on the ergonomic design of the facility to ensure efficient and effective vehicle flows.

Phase 1 of the development will accommodate the undercover storage of 2 400 vehicles and is due to be completed in the second quarter of 2020. Phase 2 will commence in the second half of 2020 and accommodate storage of a further 2 300 vehicles.

Options to increase the capacity beyond the first two phases are in place and will be developed in line with market demand. These options will increase the capacity of the facility to accommodate a further 12 000 vehicles.

“Grindrod understands the importance of moving towards a circular economy and has planned features such as solar panels, rainwater harvesting, wash water recycling and plastic recycling systems as part of its Vision 2025,” the company said, adding that plastic wrappings removed from vehicles will be transformed into bricks and plastic roof sheeting and used in commercial applications.

Mayor Eric Ngcongo of the Mkhambathini Local Municipality said: “We are very pleased with this exciting development which will contribute to growth in the community. Thank you to the church leaders, members of the business forum and my esteemed colleagues for your support in this development and to our hosts from Grindrod for celebrating this milestone with us.”

Grindrod Limited CEO Andrew Waller said the facility would bring revenue and employment to the local community.

“This investment in key infrastructure supports our strategic focus of unlocking trade corridors. Our management team has worked tirelessly and in collaboration with business partners to ensure that the design specifications provide our customers a unique competitive advantage and contribute to delivering a sustainable, cost effective and efficient hub for strategic growth along this corridor,” Waller said.

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