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Transport and Networks

Infrastructure development is a critical anchor of South Africa's strategy of progress. South Africa's phenomenal expansion of trade over the past five years has resulted in roads, railways, airports and ports developing to reach new levels of efficiency. Major projects and large contracts involving transport and electricity networks are currently in the pipeline throughout the whole country.

Ports, roads and rail

South Africa - This country sits astride the world's major shipping routes, a natural stop en route to Europe, Asia, Australasia, and the rest of Africa. South Africa has seven commercial ports, the largest and best equipped harbour network in Africa. Durban and Richard's Bay ports provide complementary services, Richard's Bay being the largest bulk coal terminal in the world (more than 80 million tons of coal a year are routed through this port). Durban port is South Africa's busiest, providing the largest container facility in Southern Africa at 2,6 million TEUs per annum, 64% of South Africa's container traffic.

The South African Government has implemented an R11 billion investment programme which will see major port, rail and road improvements over the next few years, taking growth and productivity to the next level. Companies manufacturing for export can locate in one of four Industrial Development Zones (Export Processing Zones). These are strategically placed to minimise logistics cost and maximise profit potential for investors. The R1.26 RBCT expansion project has also seen an increase in the port capacity from 79 to 91 mtpa.The terminal is undergoing another expansion to increase.

South Africa's rail network ranks 10th in the world in terms of freight carried, and is the 13th longest in the world,  handling 113 BT pa. Transnet, the State Corporation managing rail, has significant development programmes underway to ensure that the network remains the best maintained in Africa, and continues to provide a mission-critical service to South African Exporters.

KwaZulu-Natal air transport facilities

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), the largest airports authority in Africa, operates the country’s ten principal airports, including O.R. Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban International Airports. Together, their airports handle more than 200,000 aircraft landings and 23 million arriving and departing passengers annually.

The newly opened King Shaka International Airport (KSIA), in La Mercy 35km North of Durban has developed a reputation for handling dignitaries and delegates professionally and efficiently. KSIA is the 3rd busiest airport in South Africa. This ground breaking airport was a result of the outstretched capacity on the old Durban International Airport. In the first year of its operation, KSIA handled a total of 4.8 million passengers, an impressive 10.7% increase over 2009/10 per year from destinations worldwide. Linked to the airport’s air freight component, the Dube Trade Port which offers commercial facilities such as the Trade Zone, whose two-fold objectives are (i) to recapture KwaZulu-Natal freight currently utilizing Gauteng’s OR Tambo International Airport and, (ii) provide a platform to actively support and generate new investment in the full range of air freight-related businesses and associated services in KwaZulu-Natal.

In addition to direct connection to Maputo and Mauritius, the Emirates airline opened a direct daily connection with the province of KwaZulu-Natal to Dubai, in October 2009. There are myriad other direct connections with the OR Tambo and Cape Town International airports. SA Express also connects DIA with the smaller airports of Richards Bay and Pietermaritzburg, which too have direct links to the ORTIA.

For more information on DIA, ACSA the Dube Trade Port and La Mercy Airport, please visit:

   IT & telecommunications   

World-class telecommunications are offered in South Africa. 99.8% Digital networks with fixed-line, wireless and satellite communication make up the most sophisticated telco infrastructure in Africa. The GSM cellular phone market is in the top quartile globally, in terms of growth, offering clear opportunities to innovators in the sector. Benefits of their significant investments are being experienced currently by major players such as Alcatel, Siemens, Vodafone and SBC Communications.

Telkom, the major fixed-line operator in South Africa, is a key player in a US$630m optical fibre undersea cable project. Almost 40 nations and several international telecommunications operators have joined Telkom in the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE initiative, which links  African nations with Asia and Europe.

The cable is capable of transmitting 80 gigabits per second between two points, and will be linking to KZN in the vicinity of the Dube Trade Port.