Dube Trade Port – An Emergent Durban Aerotropolis


Brand South Africa in collaboration with various civil society and public sector stakeholders; the Green Youth Network, Plastics SA, Presidential Climate Commission, Technology Innovation Agency partnered to support public schools and township Small & medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) that have been affected by looting, load shedding and floods that hit the Kwa-Zulu Natal province in recently.

This collaboration with the Technology Innovation Agency and Green Youth Network took youth on a career expedition during the month of June in commemoration of Youth Month.

The platform gave Brand South Africa an opportunity to profile efforts being made as part of the economic recovery agenda, and an opportunity to showcase the Play Your Part Programme to the youth.

A tour of the Dube Trade port was undertaken to give exposure to the youth about the economic developments within the allocated business district.

The Dube  name originates from a greatly revered and hugely important figure in South African history, and a leading member of the educated African elite in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, John Langalibalele Dube.

He  was an educator, clergyman, writer, newspaper editor, civil rights leader, and the first President-General of the then South African Native National Congress, which later became the African National Congress.

He was also the founder of the Ohlange Institute, located outside of Durban, which was where Nelson Mandela famously cast his vote in South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994. With his roots firmly entrenched in the area around the now Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone, he is justifiably acclaimed as a renaissance man; a man who achieved remarkable feats in the face of the most daunting of challenges in the quest for freedom and equality within South Africa.

It was, therefore, both right and fitting that a world-class facility, that today offers so many opportunities to the nation be named after him. A sculpture commemorating the life and work of John Dube holds pride of place in Dube Square,  in the heart of Dube City – a stone’s throw from the passenger terminal at King Shaka International Airport.

Dube City is set to become the focal point of the emergent Durban Aerotropolis, or airport city, and a natural meeting place for the business community, traders, and local and global travelers.

These modern business and commercial centres, which are about three minutes from the King Shaka International Airport passenger terminal, are literally connected to a number of cargo operations within the Dube Cargo Terminal. The terminal is thought to be the most secure cargo terminal in Africa and is directly linked to both King Shaka International Airport and Dube TradeZone.

The terminal, through Dube AiRoad, also operates a fleet of dry and refrigerated trucks as well as commercial vehicles to bridge the last mile between road and airfreight. While the Dube TradeZone, a light industrial manufacturing, assembly, and logistics precinct that provides an enabling environment for aerospace and aviation-linked manufacturing and related services; electronics manufacturing and assembly; medical and pharmaceutical production and distribution; clothing and textiles; and automotive component manufacturing.

The agricultural aspect of this, which is the Dube AgriZone is thought to be Africa’s first integrated perishables supply chain, with world-class glass greenhouses, packhouses, and distribution centres.

The precinct caters to agriculture and agro-processing operators, including horticulture, aquaculture, and floriculture. It also houses a specialized tissue culture laboratory (Dube AgriLab).

On the technological side, the Dube iConnect, provides voice and data services to developments within the precinct, as well as cloud computing solutions, while strategically supporting the functioning of the first ever Durban Aerotropolis.

This exceptional precinct delivers an environment conducive to increasing value-added production by existing local industry, whilst simultaneously creating a sound platform for the creation of new industry.