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Grindrod’s huge AutoPort a boon for finished vehicle logistics

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JSE Listed freight logistics company Grindrod is constructing a massive AutoPort in South Africa, which CEO Andrew Waller says is set to revolutionize finished vehicle logistics in the country.

Construction work started in February.

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 is making good progress on the integration works.

The AutoPort 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. Both phases will cost about $12.3 million.

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 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.”

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