South Africa is moving ahead with plans to develop a new ‘inland port’ in Gauteng after awarding the winning bidder that will develop and operate the US $168m Tambo Springs Intermodal Terminal in Ekurhuleni.

Transnet awarded the 20-year concession to Southern Palace joint venture consortium to design, construct, finance, operate and maintain the terminal. The consortium is led by Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, which will serve as a technical partner, and comprise Makoya, an empowerment logistics partner that would be supported by Concor, Aecom and Italferr.

Through a public-private partnership the project dubbed Tambo Springs Intermodal Terminal is expected to reach a financial close by September with sod turning set for November.

The terminal will be built on a 607 ha property near Vosloorus, in Ekurhuleni which has been earmarked for development of a larger logistics hub being promoted by the Tambo Springs Development Company.

The hub and the terminal are part of the government’s Strategic Infrastructure Project 2 which aims to develop growth-supporting infrastructure along the Durban-Free State-Gauteng Corridor. Additionally the intermodal terminal also forms part of Gauteng Integrated Transport Master plan.

“Springs inland terminal has been on the government’s plans for a number of years. Witnessing it coming to fruition is indeed a historical moment for many South Africans. Once completed, the inland terminal will completely change the face of Gauteng,” said Transnet’s chief business development officer, Gert De Beer. 

If all goes into plan the 225,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) facility will begin operations during the third quarter of 2022, but the concession agreement includes scope for an expansion to 560,000 TEUs a year. Moreover it also allows for the concession term to be extended.

The new Springs terminal will boost efficiencies as a fully-fledged modern intermodal facility, directly connected to the Natal Corridor (Natcor) rail link between Durban and Johannesburg. The project will lead to the creation of 81 000 jobs during the contract phase and 110 000 permanent jobs in transport, manufacturing and logistics operations.