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Mkhize Backs Port Expansion On Old Airport Site
The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has thrown his weight behind plans for the use of the old Durban International Airport site for port expansion purposes. Delivering his State of the Province address, the Premier said that with Richards Bay, the Port of Durban was a major artery in the provincial and national economies. “KwaZulu-Natal fully supports the use of (the old airport) site for the development of a dug-out port and establishment of a petro-chemical hub,” said Mkhize. The Premier said R37.12-billion would be invested in the Richards Bay and Durban port rail corridors over the next five years creating 9 000 direct and indirect job opportunities.

A steering committee comprising National Departments of Transport, State Enterprises, parastatals and officials from the eThekwini Municipality has been tasked with exploring the future use of the airport site. Mkhize said the close proximity of oil refineries to the site augured well for the planned expansion. “There is a need to utilise the site to expand capacity of the Durban port. The petrochemical hub will be a logical expansion of existing facilities such as the oil refineries, located as it will be in close proximity to the Single Buoy Mooring – a facility that ensures 80% of the country’s fuel supply is delivered.” The Premier announced an agreement would also be signed with international port authorities to bolster partnerships with shipping routes. Mayor Obed Mlaba welcomed the announcement. “The plans fit in well with our development plans for the uMlazi corridor. We believe the redevelopment of the site will contribute enormously to the growth of the city’s economy and job creation,” said Mlaba.
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