Durban’s Southern Basin - Opportunities and Challenges for Logistics Operators

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Samantha Anderson is a specialist in Port related logistics in Southern Africa and has represented many multinational companies in their search for operationally efficient warehousing space. She primarily focusses on the Port of Durban as Africa’s busiest Port. She shares her views on the opportunities and challenges in this area.

The heart of our logistics sector in Southern Africa emanates from what is termed Zone 1 in Durban. Zone 1 is all warehousing space within 10km radius of the Port of Durban. The reason it is so critical is because of the cost impact proximity to the Port has on any logistics operation. The turnaround times for trucks to deliver goods to and from the harbour and into a warehouse depends on distance. Furthermore, shorter trips are more cost effective. Goods shipped out of Durban harbour originate from as far afield as the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and of course locally. The same applies for goods shipped to Durban harbour destined for mines, farms, retailers, manufacturers and construction sites all over Southern Africa.

The availability of quality warehousing within Zone 1 is always a challenge. There are times when there is an abundance and then there are times when there is a critical shortage. The factors that influence the changing market conditions are largely driven by private sector investment in Zone 1. Transnet National Port Authority (“TNPA”) owns all the land within the Port precinct and arguably manages this critically important link in the logistics supply chain sub-optimally. Hence, the only increase in quality warehousing stock in Zone 1 is been driven by the private sector.

The availability of land to develop is non-existent in Zone 1. The challenge is to redevelop sites and utilise the existing confines of the land optimally to meet the needs of modern warehousing. This includes good height and yard space. Landlords are reluctant to create large yards as this does not optimise returns given rentals are driven by areas under roof. The result is lack of space to stage trucks and congestion. There are, however, landlords that do take cognisance of the operational needs of their tenants and place these above maximum returns. This strategy is key to having almost zero vacancies and the best quality tenants.

At present there are four warehouses available for lease within Zone 1 that offer good yard space and the operational requirements of height, multiple loading options, dock levellers and security. The links to each are included below. Please contact Samantha Anderson to discuss at

Author: Samanth Anderson

Submitted 25 May 18 / Views 2037

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