Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer launches gateway to KwaZulu-Natal

AUGUST 19, 2016

Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM), the largest Chevron-Caltex franchisor in Africa, unveiled its single biggest capital investment to date with the launch today of the Northcrest Mthatha complex serving the busy north-east gateway on the N2 to KwaZulu-Natal.

The R15-million upgrade and re-launch of the flagship service station – incorporating the Eastern Cape’s largest FreshStop development and a range of value-added services for travellers and the Mthatha community – re-affirms the 100% Eastern Cape-owned company’s commitment to investment, job creation and service to motorists in the province, CEO Clive Berlyn said.

Yesterday’s (subs: Thursday, 18 August 2016) launch had financial as well as symbolic significance for Berlyn and CECM, as the site’s history is closely interwoven with that of the company, which last year celebrated a decade in business. In that time, the company has almost trebled in size – from an initial investment of R10-million in 34 sites, to 101 sites today and cumulative investment of over R300-million in new sites and ongoing refurbishment of existing sites. 

Both Berlyn and his founding partner in CECM, the late Richard Ndungane, had operated Northcrest Mthatha at separate times since it was first built in 1985. Ndungane first entered the fuel business when he bought the business from Berlyn in 1996, and in turn transferred it to his wife when the two men entered into partnership to bid for the first Caltex master franchise in a trial of Chevron’s “branded marketer” model.

“It was always our intention to knock down and completely remodel this site into a flagship for our company in the Eastern Cape. With the involvement of Novate as site operator we are very proud to see this dream become a reality today,” Berlyn said. Novate invested a further R4,5-million in equipment to ensure the smooth and safe running of the site.

Completing the chain of Caltex service stations along the N2 in the Eastern Cape, the all-new Northcrest Mthatha can serve 12 vehicles at a time. In addition to FreshStop – a concept pioneered by Chevron with Fruit & Veg City – the complex offers Crispy Chicken and Hooked on Fish take-out and a Seattle coffee bar.  Famous Brands is investing an additional R4,5-million by adding a Steers outlet on site which is scheduled to open in December.

“We are very much a proudly Eastern Cape company, and proud to say that more than 95% of our non-fuel expenditure stays in the province. We believe that this province has huge growth potential which needs to be unlocked through investment, creating sustainable value and meaningful employment,” Berlyn said.

Today’s launch in his hometown of Mthatha also had symbolic significance for Chevron South Africa’s general manager for sales and marketing support, Qaqambile Price Njokweni.

“I first came into contact with Clive Berlyn and Richard Ndungane when I joined Caltex in 1993. During my career at Chevron, I continued to be impressed by their clear, undiluted vision and belief in the Caltex brand, so it was hardly surprising that they became the pioneers of our branded marketer programme and since then have grown to become the largest such network in the country.

“It is with great pride then that we mark the opening of the new Northcrest Caltex service station in my hometown. The station will not only serve motorists on this busy route connecting Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, but will play an important role in the Mthatha community by providing customers with a first-class filling station and a destination with a range of value-added services,” Njokweni said.

CECM now controls more than 12% of the Caltex retail network in South Africa and the second-biggest share of the fuel market in the Eastern Cape. The company was named Chevron South Africa’s Top Branded Marketer in 2014, recognising its solid growth in difficult market conditions, as well as its contribution to customer value, innovation and building the Caltex brand.

Image: GATEWAY INVESTMENT – Northcrest Caltex service attendant, Akwaba Ndondo celebrated the re-opening of the R15-million upgrade of the site in Mthatha with Novate’s Joe Berlyn, the Caltex White Rabbit, Clive Berlyn - Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer CEO, Chevron South Africa’s general manager for sales and marketing support - Qaqambile Price Njokweni and Nkuli Mvikweni. Image credit: Hands on Marketing