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Optimising socio-economic benefits through competitive logistics systems, infrastructure and novel concepts for the Durban Aerotropolis.

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This case-based research study contributes to the description and understanding of the Durban Aerotropolis strategy and intends to establish how it can be successfully applied, given the logistics and mobility dynamics in the region. It has been determined in various studies that relevant and specialised approaches to policy making, spatial planning and transportation and connectivity planning can be prioritized in creating sustainable urban developments. As outlined in the literature, the Durban Aerotropolis strategy is a spatial planning concept which embodies the creation of aviation–oriented, airport centric developments in which local businesses are closely linked to their suppliers. The exploratory research design approach was deemed appropriate since there are few studies that have reviewed the Durban Aerotropolis master plan using Porter’s model of competitiveness and integrated logistics and mobility planning frameworks. In achieving the research objectives and answering the research questions, a mixed methods design was adopted in which qualitative and quantitative research approaches were used sequentially, concurrently, and iteratively. A plethora of sampling and data collection methods, including purposive and snowball sampling were applied, using 12 in-depth interviews, 5 focus group sessions involving 60 participants and organisational document reviews. In addition, 180 online questionnaire responses and observations from the 36 businesses located in the aerotropolis region were conducted. For the analysis and presentation of the research findings, thematic, content, descriptive and document analysis was applied, using Microsoft Excel, SPSS and CAQDAS. Evidence suggests that logistics and mobility planning and the infrastructure adopted has been instrumental in supporting an increase in passenger and cargo volumes. As much as the Durban Aerotropolis development is in its initial stages, there is evidence of socio-economic impacts relating to employment creation, growth in imports and exports and the creation of a competitive environment. The success of the strategy has been attributed to the adoption of novel strategies and concepts that enable improved logistics and mobility planning, connectivity and responsiveness among other critical success factors. This has seen several innovative strategies including roadway expansions, network designs, mobility platforms and many other infrastructural developments being considered for the Durban Aerotropolis.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.