Origin of Our Name

John Langalibalele Dube is a greatly revered and hugely important figure in South African history.

He was a leading member of the educated African elite in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was an educator, clergyman, writer, newspaper editor, civil rights leader and the first President-General of the then South African Native National Congress, which later became the African National Congress. He also founded Ohlange Institute near Durban, where Nelson Mandela cast his vote in the country’s first democratic elections in 1994.

With his roots entrenched in the region around the now Dube TradePort, he is justifiably acclaimed as a renaissance man, a man who achieved remarkable feats and it is therefore fitting that a facility which today offers so many opportunities to the nation is named after him.

A sculpture commemorating the life and work of John Dube holds pride of place in Dube Square. located in the heart of Dube City, an area set to become a focal point of this emerging airport city, a meeting place of business people, traders and local and global travellers.


  • 2002: SA Government decision to invest in new international airport outside Durban, recognising this would promote sustainable economic growth and development.
  • 2003: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government establishes Dube TradePort Company to facilitate the development of a world-class aviation-linked export platform as a catalyst for private sector investment and sustainable employment creation. The company, comprising just four individuals – Mr Rohan Persad, as CEO, and staff members Ms Joanne Hyatt (nee Winter), Mr Hamish Erskine and Mr Owen Mungwe and, shortly thereafter, joined by Mr Ahmed Bassa and Ms Jabu Ninela – to be responsible for the strategic planning, establishment, design, construction, operation, management and control of Dube TradePort.
  • 2004: National Government supports the establishment of Dube TradePort and new international airport as a Public-Public Partnership and the National Assembly informed that the project is to be ‘fast-tracked’.
  • 2005: Development of an integrated Master Plan and other preparatory endeavours are undertaken, paving the way for the construction of Dube TradePort, incorporating King Shaka International Airport.
  • 2006: Dube TradePort and ACSA sign a Cooperation Agreement, defining the roles to be played by the respective organisations. This marks the most significant Public-Public Partnership to successfully construct a project of such magnitude and gives effect to the eventual realisation of the vision behind the long-term Master Plan. The parties successfully procure a suitable and capable consortium to build the project on time and to specification.
  • 2007: The iLembe Consortium is appointed to construct Dube TradePort and attendant King Shaka International Airport. An Environmental Impact Assessment is issued for construction and work commences on the project.
  • 2008: Construction gathers momentum and assurance of on-time project delivery is provided. The project exceeds its Black Economic Empowerment targets.
  • 2009: The National Council of Provinces praises developmental progress at the Dube TradePort construction site during a weeklong fact-finding mission in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • 2010:
    • Dube Cargo Terminal and King Shaka International Airport open for business on schedule. The airport has the capacity to handle 7,2 million passengers per annum in its first phase, growing to 45 million by 2060. Its 3,7 km runway - the longest at sea-level in South Africa - is capable of accommodating the latest new generation large aircraft. The facility will be able to deal with in excess of 2 million tonnes of cargo a year off a dual runway system by 2060. Dube TradePort sets about attracting investors and partners for the effective business usage of the air logistics platform.
    • April: First Dube TradeHouse tenant to sign a lease: Keringa-Petwings.
    • May: KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize, unveils the Memorial Garden within Dube TradePort. Some five Black Rhino are delivered to Dube Cargo Terminal for transportation. Valuable Cargo Terminal, operated by Brinks, commences operations.
    • June: First international freighter, an Emirates Sky Cargo Boeing 747–400F, arrives at Dube Cargo Terminal.
    • July: First Dube TradeHouse tenant to take occupation: Consolidation & Wholesale Cargo East Coast (CWC EC).
    • August: A Memorandum of Understanding is signed with Qutom Farms, which becomes the first operator within Dube AgriZone.
    • September: Construction of Dube TradeHouse 1 is completed.
  • 2011:
    • March: The Airbridge – an Overhead Conveyer System connecting Dube TradeHouse withDube Cargo Terminal – becomes operational;
    • April: Legislation is gazetted providing for Dube TradePort’s transition from being a Section 21 Company to a Schedule 3C Provincial Public Entity, effective 01 April 2011. The wholly-owned Government entity is tasked with driving the development of Dube Cargo Terminal and Dube AiRoad at the airport, together with the adjacent Dube TradeZone, Dube AgriZone and Dube City, all of which are supported by Dube iConnect, a dedicated IT and telecommunications provider.
    • May: First harvest of cucumbers grown within Dube AgriZone.
    • June: First harvest of the tomatoes grown within Dube AgriZone.
    • August: Dube TradePort Corporation takes occupation of both its new Head office, 29° South, located in Dube City and Dube AgriHouse, situated in Dube AgriZone.
    • September: Dube TradePort Corporation hosts Africa’s inaugural cargo and aviation conference, The Air Cargo Summit Africa 2011, attracting some 120 local and international cargo and related industry delegates.
    • November: First harvest of the peppers grown within Dube AgriZone.
  • 2012:
    • March: His Excellency, Dr Jacob Zuma, the President of the Republic of South Africa, visits Dube TradePort to officially open Dube AgriZone and its greenhouses, as well as opening Dube Square and unveiling a statue of John Dube. Leading South African logistics roleplayer, the Durban-based Shree Property Group, becomes the first private sector investor to take up premises within Dube TradePort after signing a multi-million Rand, 18-site deal, so becoming Dube TradeZone’s single largest tenant. Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu (MPP) MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, appoints a new Board for Dube TradePort Corporation, comprising: Dr Bridgette Gasa (Chairperson), Ms Carol Silindile Sibiya (Deputy Chairperson), Mr Velenkosini Lindokuhle Mtshali, Mr Graham Muller and Mr Mewa Ramgobin.
    • December: With fixed assets worth R2,6 billion and private sector investment of some R400 million, Dube TradePort Corporation’s staff complement grows to total 162 individuals.

Video of Presidential launch of Dube AgriZone  Video of unveiling of John Dube Statue

  • 2013:
    • Secured first private sector investment in Dube TradeZone, a multi-million Rand property company bringing on-stream a major warehousing facility.
    • Achieved Dube AgriZone's first export contract, being the provision of cut flowers to Europe. Following an agreement with SA Express, launched direct air routes between Durban - Lusaka (Zambia), and Durban - Harare (Zimbabwe).
  • 2014:
    • July: South Africa’s National Minister of the Department of Trade and Industry designated Dube TradePort an Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) on the 1st of July. An IDZ status is considered prestigious as it carries with it a range of benefits for enterprises located within such a zone. Importantly, it is also linked to one of the South African Government’s key priorities, being the promotion of foreign and local direct investment into South Africa.

Video of Official IDZ Launch

  • 2015:
    • April: Dube TradePort broke ground on a double basement parking structure within Dube City, which will provide a solid foundation for the first private investment in the precinct. The development is planned to accommodate 573 parking bays and is located in front of Dube TradePort’s own head office, 29 Degrees South.
    • May: Dube TradePort, in collaboration with KZN’s MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Micheal Mabuyakhulu, officially opened International Trade Avenue on 26th of May. This 3.25 km dual carriageway marks an important milestone for Dube TradePort’s implementation of its industrial development strategy for the next 20 years.
    • November: New direct route between Istanbul – Durban commenced.
    • December: New direct routes between Addis Ababa – Durban, and Doha – Durban commenced.
  • 2016:
    • March: In accordance with the Special Economic Zones Act No. 16 of 2014, the Dube TradePort Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) is now officially regarded as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
    • October: New direct routes between Windhoek – Durban and Gabarone - Durban commenced.
  • 2017:
    • March: New direct route between Seychelles – Durban commenced.