Tambo-Springs container terminal briefing moves ahead as Transnet offers zoning assurances

A held this week for potential bidders for a proposed inland Tambo Springs container terminal, earmarked for development as a public-private partnership (PPP) in eastern Gauteng. State- owned freight logistics group Transnet issued a request for proposals (RFP) in June, inviting suitably qualified global logistics service providers to design, build, operate, maintain and eventually hand over the inland container terminal. Transnet reports that it has secured 35 ha to accommodate the PPP project, which has been designed to handle 50-wagon trains initially, rising to 75-wagon train as demand rises.

However, it was subsequently reported that the project faced serious zoning constraints, with Freight Trading Weekly quoting property practitioners and lawyers who suggested that building plans could not be approved on the site, owing to an absence of various town-planning approvals and conflicts with the infrastructure legislation. In addition, they pointed out that portions of the land had already been designated for the PWV 13/15 roadway, which would make township approval legally fraught. However, in response to an enquiry, Transnet insisted that all the necessary legal and administrative processes and development approvals were in place, including:

  • Approval of the master plan for the ‘Tambo Springs Next-Generation Logistics Gateway Development’ by relevant government departments and parastatals.
  • Formal incorporation of the land into the Ekurhuleni spatial planning.
  • Completion of the environmental–impact assessment processes, leading to the formal issuance of a positive record of decision required for the rezoning.
  • Formal rezoning approval from all relevant authorities, allowing for the different land uses planned in the development, including an intermodal rail terminal.
  • Implementation of the formal processes required for the realignment of the planned routing of the potential future PWV 13 road alignment to allow the development to occur.
  • Agreement with Ekurhuleni municipality to allow the required construction of bulk and internal civil and electrical services for the development, including the intermodal rail terminal site.
  • And a framework agreement between Transnet and the master developer, the Tambo Springs Development Company, in respect of the development of an operated rail terminal.

Transnet gave the assurance, therefore, that the site has indeed been rezoned and that the right to use the land for the purpose of an inland terminal has been secured. “We have also secured special rights for the remainder of the land. These allow for the land to be used for various purposes, including warehousing, manufacturing, transport and industrial purposes.” The realignment of the PWV 13 road, meanwhile, is being addressed as part of the overall town planning and/or rezoning approval processes. “The realignment of PWV 13 is under way. We have been in discussion with the Gauteng Department of Transport since 2013. The department has outlined all the requirements for the realignment and we are complying with these.” The briefing session and site visit for potential bidders takes place on July 6, with the bid submission deadline set for September 30. The bid documentation fee is R4 000. Should the PPP proceed as envisaged, the concession will be for a 20-year period, with the terminal expected to be in operation by 2019. It will have an initial capacity of 144 000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs) a year, with an option to ramp it up to 560 000 TEUs.

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