The Minister of Transport of South Africa, Dr Blade Nzimande, kicked off a two-day Maritime Transport Sector Dialogue on Thursday the 28th February 2019 at the Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal..
This inaugural Maritime Transport Sector Dialogue will work towards promoting a strong relationship between government and private sector regarding developments, challenges, opportunities and transformation in the maritime sector..
Maritime stakeholders from government and the private sector, organized labour, shipping industry, business community and academia are attending the event..
The two-day discussions will take into consideration the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) which outlines strategic guidance to transformation and gender parity in the maritime sector, job creation and stimulating the marine for economic development..
The following key topics are on the table for discussion during the dialogue series amongst others:
- Government’s maritime Transport Strategic objectives;
- Safety of Navigation along the South Africa coast: key challenges and opportunities;
- Unlocking maritime sector development through the delivery of strategic infrastructure in ports;
- Industry development and transformation;
- Maritime women empowerment in Africa;
- Opportunities and challenges for coastal shipping;
- Mining Charter and its link with the maritime sector.
Speaking at the inauguration, Dr.Nzimande said
“Our work stream has highlighted a concern that South Africa currently has no registered ships. This is in spite of the fact that each year, 300 million tons of cargo move through our ports in imports and exports,” said Nzimande.
South Africa moves in excess of 1.2 million tonnes of liquid fuels along its 4,000km coastline and holds a lot of potential in terms of requirement of a fleet of vessels to handle the rapidly expanding offshore oil and gas activities..
“Parallel to the adoption of favourable trade terms, it has become urgent that mining and energy sectors hold consultations towards the development and adoption of an incentivised scorecard in the procurement of shipping transportation, especially for the movement of coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome and other materials in the context of agreed percentages for such transportation as reserved for South African ships,” said Nzimande.
While several opportunities exist to grow the sector, there are also obstacles to transform the sector and this dialogue aims to highlight these obstacles, what needs to be done about these obstacles and what opportunities are available to grow the sector..
Nzimande expects a robust discussion on concrete actions and strategies to transform the sector calling South Africa’s coastline an “untapped potential” that had not been “fully taken advantage of” and called on the mining and energy sectors to hold “urgent” consultation meetings in order to work on routing the cargo movement via South African-owned ships..
“According to Operation Phakisa – the oceans economy strategy – the oceans have the potential to contribute up to R177 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) and create just over one million jobs by 2033. Forty-seven detailed initiatives have been identified, whose progressive implementation is expected to increase the oceans economy’s GDP contribution by R20 million per annum and lead to the creation of 22 000 direct new jobs in 2019,” he said..
A dedicated education, training and skills development focus for the sector is also on the cards working with the department of higher education and training..
Dr.Nzimande added that South Africa has a competitive geographic advantage that needs to be exploited and is seeking to increase local manufacturing capacity through a 10% increase in the usage of local components for boat and shipbuilding in South Africa..
The Government is expected to increase the ship repair capacity in Richards Bay, which would create 200 direct jobs..
Mr.Sobantu Tilayi, the acting CEO of SAMSA said that South Africa needs to grow its national ship registry to take advantage of the more than 300 million tons of cargo that are moved in and out of South Africa..
He lamented that the participation of South Africa in this value chain is minimal and that this needs to be changed to increase the contribution of the sector to the economy and also for job creation..
According to Sobantu, however, things are just beginning for South Africa, citing the Tug building program for Transnet at a cost of ZAR1.3 billion as part of the Marine Manufacturing side, SA ..
He said that the Government has also started a Rural Maritime Economy development program to deal with issues of fisheries especially with small scale fishing companies as a means to support the rural communities and include them in the sector..
You can read the full speech of Dr.Nzimande, here and you can also watch the interview with Sobantu Tilayi below.. You can also listen to Mr Dumisani Ntuli – Acting Deputy Director General of Maritine -Department of Transport speaking about the acceleration of the Maritime Dialogue and the role the sector is playing..