The Free State is leveraging its strategic position as South Africa's most centrally located province to boost the transport and logistics sector. Several national roads pass through the province: the busy N3 links Gauteng to the ports of Durban and Richards Bay; the N1 and N5 highways leading to the sea ports of Port Elizabeth and East London with the N1 ending at the port city of Cape Town.
A plan to boost corridor development along the N8 between Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State, with Lesotho's capital of Maseru, and the Northern Cape City of Kimberley. Utilization of vast resources from the province puts the transport sector in an advantageous position, resulting from steady growth in other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining and tourism.
The Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistics and industrial corridor is intended to promote not only better transport of goods between end points, but also boost economic development in towns and rural areas along the way. The Free State section includes the newly proclaimed Industrial Development Zone in the Harrismith area as well as the planned Harrismith Logistical Hub.
The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has a five-year Integrated Development Plan in place, and transport is a key component. The N8 is a central part of the plan, providing as it does the main link on the east-west axis. A commuter rail option is being explored with the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa (PRASA), to enable residents of Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu to better connect with Bloemfontein. Linking this to a bus rapid transport (BRT) system and taxis will also form part of the solution.