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Case study Infrastructure Development and Logistics

City Deep multimodal logistics project


Portfutures Africa Ltd (PAL), part of the international Portfutures Ltd.


Portfutures integrates creative consultancy, innovation and investment to procure and deliver major infrastructure projects and have done so globally for over 20 years. The challenge has been to regenerate the City Deep project in Johannesburg, South Africa (SA). A 68-hectare lease will develop a multimodal inland port, enhance logistics and trade connectivity to coastal ports, build thousands of square metres of bonded warehousing, generate self-sustaining renewable energy, create nearly 50,000 jobs and establish vocational skills training facilities. Berwicks were sub-contracted to advise on risk and compliance planning and management considerations, support stakeholder engagement, and for liaison and coordination across the project in an interim chief of staff capacity.


Berwicks drew on their extensive networks both in the UK and Africa to assist in re-energising the project. Engagement with potential overseas investors achieved significant expressions of interest which in turn ensured a NDA could be signed with a leading South African bank; thus de-risking the project for the UK investors and bringing them behind the project. A de facto chief of staff, a SA by birth, was appointed and Berwicks committed to establishing a SA branch to operate in conjunction with local SA partners and to deliver enduring support for City Deep and wider projects of benefit to the southern African region.


Within 2 months of providing support, the project went from a review of original concept to having both SA and foreign investors committed and the submission of an unsolicited bid to the leading rail company which would be the Operating Company. The outcome has been the reality of delivering a project with enormous benefits to the local community in terms of job creation, significant logistics enhancements and streamlined freight movement, generation of carbon-neutral and self-sustainable energy and the facilitation of vocational skills training and education.


“On the basis of reputation, trust and their extensive African connections, we engaged with Berwicks to assist in re-energising significant logistics development projects in southern Africa. Within 2 months, with impressive and unrelenting levels of commitment, Berwicks had directly assisted us in taking a multi-billion project from concept to reality; liaising with investors and local SA partners and providing risk and compliance input to the bid documents. The speed of progress has been unprecedented in a project of this nature. Berwicks have impressed with their commitment, agility, flexibility and ability to get things done.”

Oliver Roper, Director Portfutures International

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