There is increasing global agreement that an ‘aerotropolis’ may be described as an urban form placing an airport at its centre with a city developing around it, linking workers, suppliers, business decision-makers and goods to the global marketplace. Air cargo today is a major force in the global context, connecting the world, driving business location and promoting competitiveness. The world’s major airports are becoming significant points for production, affording businesses three vital attributes: speed, agility and connectivity. Regions meeting these attributes will attract inward investment and major airports have, therefore, emerged as potent drivers of economic growth and development.


“Airports will shape business location and urban development in the 21st Century as much as highways did in the 20th Century, railroads in the 19th and seaports in the 18th”
- Dr John Kasarda


Conducting business in Africa, while ensuring global competitiveness requires speed, agility and time-critical capabilities. Dube TradePort, utilising a 2 040 hectares ‘Greenfield’ site 30km north of Durban and with King Shaka International Airport at its centre, provides for these attributes. As Southern Africa’s premier air logistics platform, this precinct is set to become the heart of Africa’s first purpose-built aerotropolis and a catalyst for global business and trade, stimulating transit-orientated development around the airport and creating a world-class environment to attract new sectors and value chains into the economy.


Comprising Dube City, a new urban hub, Dube Cargo Terminal, supported by logistics component, and the adjacent Dube TradeZone and Dube AgriZone, all backed by Dube iConnect, a dedicated IT and telecommunications provider, Dube TradePort is the business pulse of an emerging aerotropolis on KwaZulu-Natal’s north coast.


As a ‘Greenfield’ site, Dube TradePort has the potential to be the nucleus for a true aerotropolis blueprint. This is a well thought-out, long-term development comprising a number of nodes and was planned as a broad airport city, with the aerotropolis evolving along development corridors, linking Umhlanga, Ballito, the trade port precinct and Tongaat, incorporating property belonging to one of the province’s biggest land-owners, Tongaat-Hulett. With its controlled and planned development paving the way for economic efficiency and environmental sustainability, the 60-year Master Planned Dube TradePort is poised to evolve as a sustainable and eco-sensitive aerotropolis, re-shaping the future of business in South Africa and becoming the engine-room for the greater development of its surrounds and the anchor which business will use to develop and grow in future.