Friday, July 31, 2009

Jafza Update

Orangeburg County Development Commission will be giving an update on the Jafza project to the Orangeburg Rotary Club in August. If you wish to attend please call me for the details.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CCU Economic Summit to focus on ports

Published: July 28, 2009

CONWAY - John F. Hassell III, interim president and CEO of SC State Ports Authority, and Thomas J. Eagar, CEO of NC State Ports Authority, will be the keynote speakers at the 12th annual Economic Growth Summit on Friday, Aug. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon in Wheelwright Auditorium at Coastal Carolina University. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m.

According to a news release, the annual economic conference, sponsored by the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration at Coastal Carolina University and the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and supported by The Sun News, is free and open to the public.

“The ImPORTance of the Ports to NC and SC” and “The Significance of I-73 and I-74 to the Success of the Ports” are topics to be discussed at the summit, the release said.

Hassell, a native of Charleston, has served for 15 years as president of the Maritime Association of South Carolina, a chamber of commerce for port-related businesses, organizations and agencies. Prior to that, he worked for Santee Cooper, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the SC State Ports Authority. He was founding president of the Charleston Port & Seafarers Society and founding chairman of the S.C. World Trade Center.

Eagar, who was appointed chief executive officer in August 2004 by the NC State Ports Authority Board of Directors, has a 30-year career in maritime transportation including senior management positions with Florida-based Crowley American Transport Inc., Sea-Land Service Inc. and Chiquita Brands North America in Cincinnati, as well as five years of international experience, the release said.

Addressing economic outlook issues will be William W. (Woody) Hall and Donald L. Schunk, research economists.

Hall, a senior economist with the Center for Business and Economic Services in the Cameron School of Business at UNCW, will address the regional North Carolina economic forecast.

Donald Schunk, research economist for the BB&T Center for Economics and Community Development in the Wall College of Business at Coastal Carolina University, will address the national outlook and forecast the regional outlook for South Carolina.

There will also be a panel to discuss I-73 and I-74 and their significance to the North Carolina and South Carolina ports, as well as the economic future of the region.

The panel will consist of Hassell; Eagar; Rep. Alan D. Clemmons, District 107, S.C. General Assembly; and Rep. Daniel F. McComas, District 19, N.C. General Assembly.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jafza minimizing wetlands impact, fed. officials say

By GENE ZALESKI, T&D Staff Writer Tuesday, July 28, 2009

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With Jafza South Carolina LLC still bullish on its plans to build a logistics, manufacturing and distribution park near Santee, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials say the company has done a good job minimizing the project’s environmental impact.

“They have been pretty aggressive in gathering the information they have needed to move forward,” said Nathaniel Ball, project manager in the Corps’ regulatory division. “They have done a great job in terms of looking at the wetlands.”

Jafza, a subsidiary of Jafza Americas, first came to the Corps in February with its proposed development plans for the entire site, Ball said. The Corps reviewed those plans and the project’s impact on the wetlands on the site.

Jafza would need a permit from the Corps if it were to fill in wetlands, Ball said.

“The original layout impacted about three acres of wetlands,” with a rail yard running parallel to the CSX line, he said. “That would have caused more impact to the wetlands.”

But Ball said Jafza has since designed other alternatives to reduce the potential wetland impact to half an acre.

“They have two parcels that don’t have any wetland impact,” he said.

Ball said Jafza also has been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State Historic Preservation Society to ensure preservation.

“Jafza conducted an endangered species survey and identified several wetlands on the project site that may be considered habitat for Canby’s dropwort (Oxypolis canbyii), a federally listed endangered species,” Ball said. “Based on a site inspection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, no individual plants were found on the project site and only one wetland was determined to be suitable habitat for this species.”

Ball while there is little likelihood of the site supporting dropwort, Jafza has agreed to preserve this wetland system as greenspace.

“Therefore, the proposed project is not expected to have an adverse impact on Canby’s dropwort,” Ball said. “Jafza has done a good job working with the USFWS to avoid and minimize potential adverse impacts to Canby’s dropwort.”

Ball said it was too early to tell what, if any, permits will be needed. Much will depend on the final development plans.

Company officials are still shooting for an early 2010 groundbreaking. Jafza plans to have the first tenants in the park by early 2011.

“Our company’s vision is to be the leading global provider of sustainable industrial and logistics infrastructure solutions,” Jafza spokeswoman Tara Robertson said.

Jafza first announced in September 2007 it intended to make a $600 million to $700 million investment near Santee.

Plans call for a 1,322-acre logistics, manufacturing and distribution park that will include light manufacturing, light industrial space, a public intermodal facility, a truck plaza, warehousing and mixed-use offices and commercial uses.

T&D Staff Writer Gene Zaleski can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 803-533-5551.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Interview: Ibrahim Al Janahi, Jafza

This was taken from an interview with Ibrahim Al Janahi the Chief Commercial Officer for Jafza.

July 15, 2009

Looking at the broader picture, how does Jafza plan to expand its presence to other parts of the world?

The Jafza model has been very successful and we want to take it across the globe. This is being done by our holding company, Economic Zones World, which currently operates a free zone in Djibouti. In addition, we have penetrated the US market for the first time with a special zone that is being established in South Carolina.

Shortlist of firms for Jafza project ready

26 July 2009
Jafza South Carolina yesterday finalised its shortlist of engineering firms that will receive a request for proposal to construct the infrastructure for the first phase of the company's debut US project - its logistics and multi-use commercial park in Santee, South Carolina.

The announcement comes on the heels of Jafza Managing Director Chuck Heath's mandate that South Carolina team press ahead with the company's cornerstone US project despite global economic challenges.

The firms selected are Aecom; Alliance Consulting Engineers; Arcadis; BP Barber and Seamon, Whiteside and Associates.

The finalists include three South Carolina-based companies, Alliance, BP Barber and Seamon, Whiteside and Associates. Arcadis is based in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, while Aecom's headquarters is in Los Angeles, California.

Last week, Aecom announced that it had won two contracts totalling $60 million (Dh220m) to work on multi-use real estate development projects in the Middle East.

The bigger contract is for $45m, and it is to design and manage construction of the Al Raha Beach Development project in Abu Dhabi.

The other contract is for $15m to provide programme-management services for Knowledge Economic City in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

by Dan McCue

© Emirates Business 24/7 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jafza considering 5 engineering firms

By T&D Staff Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jafza South Carolina LLC announced Wednesday it is considering five civil engineering firms for the construction of the first phase of its planned logistics and multi-use commercial industrial park.

Five civil engineering firms will receive a request for proposal to construct the infrastructure of project’s first phase.

“All of the civil engineering firms that submitted a qualifications packet had excellent credentials,” said Clint Murphy, Jafza’s vice president of engineering and operations.

“The competition was tough and we feel confident in the firms chosen to potentially develop the first phase of our project,” he said.

The firms selected are:


* Alliance Consulting Engineers

* Arcadis

* BP Barber and Associates

* Seamon, Whiteside and Associates

All the firms have South Carolina offices.

Details on phase one are being revised and are expected to be released next month.

“Until we get a better understanding of the timeline on the U.S. 301 modification, we are focusing our efforts on plots of land that have existing access and are ready for business today,” Jafza spokesperson Tara Robertson said.

The Request For Proposals will be issued to the firms once the plans are finalized, Jafza officials say. The RFP will request more specific information, as well as a firm lump-sum price and schedule for providing the work.

In 2007, Jafza acquired more than 1,300 acres in Orangeburg County for a logistics, warehouse, light manufacturing and multi-use commercial complex.

The park will include light manufacturing, light industrial space, a public intermodal facility, a truck plaza, warehousing and mixed-use offices and commercial uses.

Company officials are still shooting for an early 2010 ground breaking, with the first tenants expected by early 2011.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jafza, industrial parks' potential have county optimistic

By GENE ZALESKI, T&D Staff Writer Sunday, July 12, 2009

With fewer industries to woo in the midst of a recession, Orangeburg County officials are focusing on the strongest sectors and getting industrial parks ready for the moment when things start moving again.

“Automotive is not moving right now,” Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson said. “So what we are targeting now (are) distribution, advanced metals, plastics, construction materials. We are targeting sectors of the economy that are doing well.

“I feel like we have hit bottom.”

Robinson said the county is continuing to prepare property for industries in anticipation of an economic uptick, although the down economy has made obtaining funding for industrial parks more challenging.

“Resources are strapped,” he said. “Everybody is doing everything they can to cut costs. We have to be realistic because there are needed services that are going unfunded. We are being very cost-conscious.”

n Jafza

Officials with Jafza Americas say the global economic downturn has brought unforeseen but not insurmountable challenges.

“Many of our existing clients are re- assessing their expansion plans,” Jafza spokeswoman Tara Robertson said. “This also affects U.S. companies that want to explore globally. Our project is market-driven, therefore, things may appear slow now, but we hope to be ready for the upturn.”

Robertson said an early 2010 groundbreaking — initially set for October 2009 — is still targeted with the eventual build-up based on market forces. The first tenants in the park are expected by early 2011.

“We have maintained good relationships with many reputable financial institutions that are ready to help us on a project-specific basis,” Robertson said.

Jafza first announced in September 2007 it intended to make a $600 million to $700 million investment near Santee. Plans call for a 1,322-acre logistics, manufacturing and distribution park that will include light manufacturing, light industrial space, a public intermodal facility, a truck plaza, warehousing and mixed-use offices and commercial uses.

In light of the economic downturn, Jafza officials have publicly said they will focus on the development of the Santee site, and put on hold potential projects in Virginia, Ohio and Texas.

In the meantime, Robertson says the company is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on its environmental permitting process.

“This is a very detailed and tedious process,” Robertson said. “We feel confident we will have the permit this fall.”

Robertson says Jafza is also in the process of looking at engineering firms to help with the project design. The company expects a short list of firms to be announced in the near future.

Robertson said Jafza is also actively working with its sister company, Gazeley UK Limited, to market the site.

“We are soft-launching our marketing efforts until we get a permit in hand and learn more about the timeline of when U.S. 301 will be on line,” Robertson said. “We do have plots that are ready for build today and we are focusing our efforts on those plots.”

Robertson said the company is talking to several national and international companies, though she said it would be premature to release the names of the companies.

Another issue related to the project is the proposed upgrade of the U.S. 301/Interstate 95 interchange.

Robinson said a meeting was held recently with the S.C. Department of Transportation Highway Commission as well as the local legislative delegation to discuss funding opportunities, design plans, possible modifications and future public hearings.

“We are also working on the access roads with the county and with Jafza,” Robinson said. “I am not going to speculate on the design of the roads. We have a lot of work ahead of us as far as the best route and the best design.”

The total cost of the interchange project is estimated at $25 million. The county is also working to secure funds to extend U.S. Highway 301 to S.C. Highway 6, a project that could cost upward of $35 million.

About $15 million has been secured for the road improvements from a variety of federal, state and local sources, Robinson said.

n Orangeburg County

Industrial Park

Robinson said the county is currently in the process of selling about 5 acres in the Orangeburg County Industrial Park on Rowesville Road. The 5 acres are adjacent to Mars Pet Care.

There are currently talks with a Charleston developer to build a 50,000-square-foot speculative building on the site.

“It is a solid sign for the economy and for us that someone is willing to come in and build a speculative building,” he said. Specifics on the talks were not disclosed.

Robinson said the property has access to rail and interstate within 6 miles.

Also, the county is working with the city to develop about 80 acres adjacent to the Orangeburg Municipal Airport runway, Robinson said.

The development would require the creation of another road to connect current roads to the property. The site would be rail-accessible since the county has brought in rail spurs to Ecka Granules and ACO Distribution. The rail spurs were funded through grants and the private sector.

“We would like to target aviation-related projects,” Robinson said.

n County/City

Industrial Park Phase II/

speculative building

The second, 220-acre phase of the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park is complete and ready for tenants, Robinson said. The road work, infrastructure and lighting is complete.

“We have created a campus format,” Robinson said. “The idea is to really clean it up and make it nice.”

Columbia-based development company The Miller-Valentine Group broke ground in January 2008 on a $5 million, 150,000-square-foot speculative building at the park.

Robinson says the building has been shown both nationally and internationally over the past year.

The building, which is expandable to 300,000 square feet, is situated on about 21 acres across the street from Allied Air and next door to H.T. Hackney.

“This is a drawing card for Orangeburg,” Robinson said, noting it has curb appeal as well as being adaptable to office and other possibilities. The building can also be divided for several tenants.

Robinson said he also expects a new tenant to move into the park adjacent to elevator guide rail manufacturer Monteferro.

He declined comment on project specifics.

n ‘A difficult year’

World Trade City Orangeburg LLC announced in February 2008 its plans to develop land near Bowman and Interstate 26, at Exit 159, into a four-phase business center that eventually could draw $1 billion in investment and bring 1,000 jobs over a 10- to 15-year period.

A mixed-use logistics center, which will combine office and exhibition space with warehousing and distribution facilities, is planned.

The first phase of the four-phase project is projected to cover 1,200 acres.

The company’s chief executive officer, Jimmie Gianoukos, said discussions have been held with prospective investors interested in the project though a large-scale commitment has been put on hold.

“The good thing about it I think is that it will definitely come to fruition when our time comes,” Gianoukos said. “It is not our time nor too many other people’s time. I would say we are still alive and well. I spend time with it every week. We are on everyone’s radar in the state.

“It is the matter of timing now with the economy.”

Gianoukos said the property has been shown to potential investors within the past few weeks.

“We are not dead and gone,” he said. “We are far from that right now.”

Gianoukos said hopes are the project will come out of the ground by the end of 2010 or early 2011.

n John W. Matthews Jr.

Industrial Park

This park, named after Bowman Sen. John Matthews, is situated on about 542 acres at the intersection of U.S. Highways 301 and 176.

The land is currently being cleared with a $500,000 road already paved through the property.

Robinson said the park has everything except a wastewater system — at this time — and will have water tied in through the fall through the Lake Marion Regional Water Authority project.

The permitting is in place to construct a gravity-fed wastewater system and a million-gallon water facility. The projects could begin in the near future. The first phase of the water project will cost between $3 million and $7 million.

Designing and landscaping plans are under way at the park.

“We cannot go to construction without adequate water and sewer,” Robinson said.

About $1 million from capital project sales tax money will be spent on water and wastewater lines from the town of Bowman along S.C. Highway 210 to Interstate 95, Exit 165.

Additional money from the penny tax also will go toward tying in water lines to the industrial park.

n Western Orangeburg

County Industrial Park

Additional due diligence is ongoing, including surveys and environmental studies.

When asked about a construction timeline, Robinson replied, “I don’t want to speculate. It is in the very preliminary stages. We will need additional funding to create the needed improvements.”

Robinson said it may be 2012 before there is any significant activity.

In August 2008, county economic development officials purchased about 230 acres of property on S.C. Highway 389 and U.S. 321 and near S.C. Highway 4 that will be developed into a logistics and manufacturing park. The cost was about $2,500 to $3,500 per acre.

The county has about 100 acres under option.

Robinson said county officials are still working with about 24 landowners to purchase land for the industrial park.

The remaining owners hold parcels ranging in size from 1 acre to 70 acres.

“We have to design the park based on what we can obtain,” Robinson said. “We are not going to condemn property. If we cannot secure the needed property, all that does is make that park less likely to succeed.”

n County prepares new

park to lure industry

The county has started clearing land for a new industrial park near the intersection of U.S. 601 and Interstate 26.

The 95-acre Carolina International Park, situated on Industrial Boulevard, will have about a quarter of a mile of interstate frontage, as well as Norfolk Southern rail, water, sewer, gas and electricity.

“It is ready for somebody to come in,” Robinson said. “We have shown it a bunch.”

“We could literally deliver rail off the main spur,” Robinson said. “It is turnkey.”

The property is situated behind Mayer Industries and Zeus Industrial Products.

A road has been cut into the property so it can be shown to prospective buyers.

T&D Staff Writer Gene Zaleski can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 803-533-5551. Discuss this and other stories online at

Unblocking Panama canal's bottleneck

Spanish-Italian consortium set to scoop biggest slice of $5.25bn expansion project

Panama has steamed ahead with a massive expansion of its canal to keep trade between Asia and North America flowing through the waterway.

It has revealed bids for the main contract in a $5.25bn plan to widen the canal, clearing the way for one of the world's largest and most lucrative infrastructure projects.

The Panama Canal Authority, an autonomous government agency, ended months of speculation last week by determining the "best-value" bid from three rival consortiums, signalling the almost certain winner.

The consortium, led by Spain's Sacyr Vallehermoso and Italy's Impregilo, significantly undercut its rivals with a $3.12bn bid to build new locks that will double the canal's capacity and accommodate a new generation of super-size container ships.

The bid was well under the canal authority's target price of $3.48bn and appeared to meet technical requirements. A technical board will verify the canal authority's assessment before the deal is confirmed.

"This event marks a critical milestone for the Panama Canal Authority and Panama," said Alberto Aleman Zubieta, the authority's chief executive. "We look forward to awarding the contract in the coming days."

The new locks, one on the Atlantic entrance, the other on the Pacific Ocean, will consolidate central America's isthmus as a gateway for global trade.

"As far as shipping is concerned this is massively important," said Mark Page of Drewry Shipping Consultants in London. "It is the single biggest shipping infrastructure project since they built the original canal."

The project, which needs 5,000 workers, is due for completion in 2014 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the original inauguration of the canal, an engineering feat considered one of the modern wonders of the world that cost more than £600m to build. More than 25,000 workers died in its construction over 10 years.

A $50m bonus will be paid for meeting the deadline. Despite the global economic slowdown, the 50-mile waterway needs widening. Burgeoning traffic levels have left long lines of vessels queuing to cross from either side in recent years. Some ship-owners pay huge sums to jump the queue. A US cruise ship, Disney Magic, last year paid a record $331,200 for the privilege.

The canal, which moves about 5% of the world's cargo, relies mainly on container traffic between Asia and the US eastern seaboard. But the new generation of so-called post-Panamax vessels, which are 1,400ft long, cannot fit and Panama risked losing them to the Suez canal and US railways which transport containers coast to coast.

Panamanian voters overwhelmingly backed the expansion in a 2006 referendum. The canal authority is borrowing $2.3bn, including $400m from the Inter-American Development Bank.

Work is well under way. Hillsides have been blown up and a four-mile access channel on the Pacific side, which will permit passage of vessels three times heavier than the current limit, is nearly completed.

The biggest logistical challenge is building a third set of locks. They will measure 1,400ft long, 180ft wide and have a 50ft draft, all significantly bigger dimensions than currently. Catch basins will recycle 60% of the water used to fill the locks, in contrast with the present system which flushes it all out to sea.

The three consortiums submitted proposals, costings and technical designs in March. To allay concerns over corruption the cost estimates were kept in sealed envelopes in a vault at the government-owned Panama national bank along with the project's target price. Deloitte was hired as a contracting auditor to monitor technical evaluation.

The envelopes were opened in a ceremony in Panama City broadcast live. A computer and projector were used to tally points for each bid based on cost and technical specifications.

The front-runner scored marginally better than its rivals on technical issues and, with a bid of $3.12bn, emphatically better on cost.

A group led by Bechtel, the San Francisco-based construction giant, which included Japan's Taisei and Mitsubishi corporations and China's Wuchang shipyard, bid for $4.18bn.

A consortium led by Spain's Grupo ACS bid for $5.98bn. It was the only group to include a UK sub-contractor, Mott MacDonald, a London-registered engineering consultancy.

Panama's president, Ricardo Martinelli, said he was "pleased" the lowest bid was below the canal authority's target price.

The biggest losers from the canal's expansion are expected to be US west-coast ports and railways. Another casualty will be Nicaragua's dream of building a rival canal, always a long shot for Central America's poorest country.

The strait story

Linking the Atlantic and Pacific was first mooted in the 16th century by the conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa, who reported to the Spanish king that if a natural strait was not found "it might not be impossible to make one".

Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French builder of the Suez Canal, tried in the 1880s but marshy terrain doomed his sea-level plans, and malaria and yellow fever killed thousands of labourers.

The US, thanks to locks and drugs to combat disease, succeeded in 1914. Its military kept control of the canal zone, a sore point in Latin America, until President Jimmy Carter signed a treaty in 1977, ceding control to Panama in 2000.