January 22, 2020: Grindrod, a freight logistics provider has started work on R105 million ($7.2 million) Umlass Road autoport in the South African town of Camperdown, in the northwest of Durban. The 270,000 square metres finished vehicle processing centre will provide a range of services, including for plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles (EVs).

The facility, which is expected to be operational by the second quarter of the year would feature a fully-equipped workshop and fitment centre able to carry outsmart repairs, as well as support clearing and forwarding activities, and bonded and duty paid storage for all types of vehicles.

The company plans two phases of development at the site. Phase one will see the completion of undercover storage for 2,400 vehicles by the second quarter of this year, with a further 2,300 vehicles accommodated by the second half of 2020. Grindrod said it was also planning options to increase the capacity with a scope to accommodate a further 12,000 vehicles.

As part of its Vision 2025 strategy, Grindrod intends to make the processing centre sustainable with the use of solar panels and rainwater harvesting, along with the reuse of water used to wash the vehicles and the recycling of plastic covers.

"Plastic wrappings removed from vehicles will be transformed into bricks and plastic roof sheeting and used in commercial applications," explained the company in a statement.

The Camperdown facility is adjacent to the Natcor rail link between Durban and Johannesburg and Transnet Freight Rail is reported to be making good progress on integrating the centre into the network.

In its most recently published results Grindrod said its freight services business was focused on "unlocking sub-Saharan African trade corridors" and aligning its businesses along key corridors, to connect and extend supply chains".

Along with finished vehicle services inland and at the port of Maputo, Grindrod provides logistics services for containers, liquid bulk and dry cargo.

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