Grindrod breaks ground at the R 105 million Umlaas Road AutoPort Project
Caption: 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.
Grindrod celebrated the commencement of construction of a state-of-the-art AutoPort, at a ‘Sod-Turning’ ceremony on Thursday 16 January 2020.
The mayor of the Mkhambathini Local Municipality, Mayor Eric Ngcongo as well as the deputy mayor, acting municipal manager, ward councilors and members of the ward committees in the transport and LED sectors attended the event. Representatives from the Taxi Association and Business Forum also attended the event as well as the professional team and representatives from Grindrod.
The 270 000sqm property is ideally situated just off the N3 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.
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. Emphasis has been applied in respect of 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 will be completed in the second quarter of 2020. Phase 2 will commence in the second half of 2020 and accommodate the 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. 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.”
Said Andrew Waller, CEO Grindrod Limited: “We are very grateful to Mayor Ngcongo and his municipality for enabling us to build this facility which will bring revenue and employment to the community. This investment in key infrastructure supports our strategic focus on 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.”