Graduate Hopes Research Contributes to Future Success of Durban Aerotropolis

Research titled: Optimising Socio-Economic Benefits through Competitive Logistics Systems, Infrastructure and Novel Concepts for the Durban Aerotropolis, culminated in Dr Kenneth Ngwenya being awarded his doctoral degree in Supply Chain Management.

Ngwenya hopes his research will ‘contribute knowledge to the niche area of the Durban Aerotropolis which is destined to become a premier business and trade hub in sub-Saharan Africa.’

Ngwenya says the study, supervised by Professor Micheline Naude and Professor Henry Wissink, contributes to the description and understanding of the Durban Aerotropolis strategy and he intends to establish how it can be successfully applied, given the logistics and mobility dynamics in the region.

‘The Aerotropolis concept has been successfully adopted in developing countries and has resulted in eclectic benefits,’ said Ngwenya.

The official 50-year Durban Aerotropolis Master Plan along with the modern Durban Aerotropolis Visitor Centre based at the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone was launched in 2019. Ngwenya aims to enhance research around this area especially in the areas of logistics and the supply chain.

‘What made this a challenging study is the absence of literature and existing frameworks which address the question of logistics and supply chain optimisation,’ said Ngwenya. ‘While there is more work that still needs to be done on the Durban Aerotropolis, in my view the commitments made by both the public and private sector towards the initiative are already yielding results. Within the next 20 years the development will be ranked among the best and most successful airport cities in the world,’ said Ngwenya.

The study’s findings revealed that although the Durban Aerotropolis development is in its initial stages, there was already evidence of socio-economic impacts relating to employment creation, growth in imports and exports and the creation of a competitive environment.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Supplied