‘South Africa is open for business’: Vuka Marine – owner of now three SA registered cargo ships


Pretoria: 22 June 2019

South Africa’s ship registry has been given a boost with the registration of yet another vessel operated by Vuka Marine, bringing to close on half a dozen the number of operational ships now carrying the South African flag in world oceans.

The Vuka Marine cargo vessel known as the Windsor Adventure: Port Elizabeth, was formally welcomed into the country’s ship registry at a ceremony held in the city of its registry and home, the port of Port Elizabeth this past week.

DSC_0837.JPGGuests attending included representatives of the Department of Transport (DoT), the Ports Regular of South Africa, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Eastern Cape provincial government, the Nelson Mandela University (NUM), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and other business and institutions representatives.

DSC_0764.JPGVuka Marine is a joint venture between Via Maritime of South Africa and K-Line of Japan.  The company is currently moving about 2.5-metric tons of ore per annum, mainly on the first two capesize bulk carriers that it flagged in South Africa in 2015.

The latest addition is the third cargo ship operated by Vuka Marine to be registered under the South African flag and the fifth so far in the registry since launch of the SAMSA driven campaign to revitalise the commercial ship stock registered in South Africa about a decade or so ago – an apparently painstaking venture it has proved to be to date.

At the port of Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, both senior national and provincial government officials attending, including the Eastern Cape’s MEC for Transport, Ms Weziwe Tikana, expressed delight at the growth of ships now coming carrying the South Africa flag, however slow, and also acknowledged the need for speed in adding more into fold of the registry in far higher numbers if the country was to realise its ambitions of developing the country’s maritime economy transport sub-sector, develop skills and create employment.

DSC_0804.JPGIn the videos below, all six speakers – Captain Brynn Adamson (Harbor Master: Port of Port Elizabeth; Mr  Mahesh Fakir (CEO: Ports Regulator SA), Mr Metse Ralephenya (Marine Transport: DoT), Mr Andrew Millard (CEO: Vuka Marine), Mr Sobantu Tilayi (acting CEO: SAMSA) and Ms Weziwe Tikana (MEC for Transport: Eastern Cape) were unanimous in praise of the joint effort and close collaboration being achieved in delivering on the ship registry campaign. They also expressed determination in ensuring that hiccups currently being experienced, especially with taxation and related business costs of ship registration under the South African flag must be resolved.

In their order of appearance, Capt: Adamson said the port of Elizabeth was proud to be the home of no less than four operating vessels registered calling the port their home.

The four include the three operated by Vuka Marine and one other operated by bunking services company, Aegian. For his full remarks, click on the video below.

Ports Regulator, Mr Mahesh Fakir elaborated on financial incentives now approved in preference of vessels coming under the South African flag, as well as necessary operational conditions expected of ships registered in South Africa which he said were consistent with the country’s maritime sector developmental goals.

This was coming against the backdrop that South Africa relies on about 12 000 foreign vessels to carry 96 per cent of its exports to the rest of the world each year, leaving it strategically vulnerable.

On incentives, Mr Fakir said South Africa currently offers up to 30 per cent discount on port dues by ships locally registered. On operational conditions, among other things, he said it was important that vessels carrying trade goods outbound and inbound, as well as personnel manning the vessels, should increasingly be South African.

For more on his remarks, Click on the video below:

“South Africa is open for business….” were the closing remarks of Vuka Marine CEO, Mr Andrew Millard in summation of both his company’s experience and achievements in its quest for registration of its cargo vessels dating as far back as 2009 and one of which only got registered in 2014.

Among notable achievements being increasingly realised was the placement to date of some 50 young South African cadets on its vessels, the absorption of about dozen of these into full-time employment, and a current recruitment campaign for more young trainees known in the sub-sector as ‘ratings’.

He said Vuka Marine was also keen to assist the country’s ship registry through sharing experiences with ship operators keen on carrying the South African flag.

Mr Millard’s views were earlier echoed by the company’s chairman, Mr Andrew Mthembu, who remarked: “We are thrilled to welcome the Windsor Adventure into Vuka Marine’s fleet. This acquisition demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the development of the South Africa’s maritime industry, the national registry, and our seafarer population.”

For Mr Millard full remarks, Click on the video below:

For SAMSA, the campaign to enrol more commercial cargo vessels in the country’s ship registry had proved tedious, unnecessarily at times due to lack of co-operation by some important institutions.

“We are 95% towards setting up everything in place to ensure a smooth operation in  drawing ships into the country’s registry, but that five per cent that’s outstanding is the difference between success and failure'” said SAMSA acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi.

Issues involving taxation were among the impediments, but so was more closer co-operation and collaboration necessary from particular the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), he said. For his full remarks Click on the video below.

Ms Weziwe Tikana, MEC for Transport in the Eastern Cape described it as befitting that newly registered vessels under the SA flag had their home in the province. She said the province had the privilege of having the second longest coastline in the country after the Western Cape but had little to show for it so far. However, she said, since launch of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) by government in 2014, the province had resolve to increase its economic contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product based on maritime economic sector growth,

This, she said, was necessary not just for economic growth but also for social transformation and higher participation by all South Africans.

For her full remarks, Click on he video below:

DoT’s Marine Transport directorate official, Mr Metse Ralephenya was full of praise that ‘pressure’ from the department on SOE CEOs involved in maritime transport was truly beginning to pay off handsomely, and vowed on behalf of DoT to ensure that necessary support by government was given.

For his full remarks, Click on the video below.

While being celebrated, the 56 000dwt Windsor Adventure was busy taking on board yet another load of locally mined minerals destined for overseas markets.





Ports Consultative Council a key cog in South Africa’s ports management: SAMSA


Pretoria: 10 June 2019

Democratization of South Africa’s ports space is among key goals of the establishment of the country’s Ports Consultative Committee (PCC).

The PCC is a statutory structure set up by Government with a view to ensuring that all economic participants at the country’s major ports have equal access and contribution to management of the ports infrastructure and associated resources.

This is according to the PCC Secretariat, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) during the holding of the first ever meeting of Gauteng based ports stakeholders in Johannesburg recently. Johannesburg is South Africa’s financial capital with several investors in the country’s ports based on or operating from the inland city.

The PCC was established by the Department of Transport in terms of sections 80(1)(a), (c), (d) and (g) of the National Ports Act, 2005 and has been operational in the country’s nine commercial ports for some time since.

The PCC’s presence and role also fulfills part of the mandate of the Ports Regular of South Africa which requires that the regulator “must conduct a public participation process as part of the economic review in each of the ports, including conduct one or more public hearings in the manner set out in the Directives issued by the Regulator in terms of the Act.”

Some of Gauteng based SA ports stakeholders attending this year’s first Port Consultative Committee roadshow in Johannesburg on Wednesday 29 May 2019.

In this year’s round of ports stakeholder consultations involving roadshows from Richards Bay in the east coast through to Saldanha Bay in the west coast, the PCC for the first time included Gauteng based ports stakeholders, with a meeting held at a venue near O.R Tambo international airport on Wednesday, 29 May 2019.

Ms Selma Schwarz-Clausen. SAMSA

Ms Selma Schwarz-Clausen, a senior official of SAMSA charged with handling the secretariat responsibility of SAMSA for the PCC, described the first ever staging of the meeting for Gauteng based ports stakeholders a major step forward in ensuring broad and inclusive participation by all key and relevant stakeholders in the development and management of the country’s parts for economic beneficiation of all.


In the following video, Ms Schwarz-Clausen explains the role of the PCC and goals.

Mr Mahesh Fakir. Chief Executive Officer: Ports Regulator of South Africa

Also attending the meeting was Mr Mahesh Fakir, Chief Executive Officer of the Ports Regulator of South Africa. He also explained his role in National Ports Consultative Committee which he described as on the whole, as that of an observer who contributes in discussions  if requested to do so, but “is not be permitted to participate in any voting or raise any objections to any action, decision, or advice proposed to be taken or given by the Committee.”

In the three (30 minutes video below, Mr Fakir briefly outlines the role of the Ports Regular in general as well as its interest in the work of the National Ports Consultative Committee.









South Africa maritime sector development; the game is on for the country’s inland provinces: SAMSA

INLAND PROVINCES INVITED: The sun rising above the Xhariep Dam on the Orange River on Thursday, as the country joined global observation of World Maritime Day 2016
INLAND PROVINCES INVITED: The sun rising above the Xhariep Dam on the Orange River on Thursday, as the country joined global observation of World Maritime Day 2016

Bloemfontein: 30 September 2016

Exploration and responsible exploitation of maritime sector opportunities are not the preserve of only South Africa’s coastal provinces but are a multi-billion rand worth golden opportunity all people in the country should equally pursue and enjoy, speakers at this year’s World Maritime Day celebration on Thursday, 29 September 2016 emphasised.

Leading the charge at the function held this year on the west end of the Gariep Dam – South Africa’s biggest by far – situated at the Orange River, some 200km south of Bloemfontein, Free State Province – was South African Maritime Safety Authority’s (SAMSA) acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, along with his counterparts in Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) CE, Mr Richard Vallihu and National Ports Regulator, Mr Mahesh Fakir

GAME'S ON! South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA acting CEO at this year's World Maritime Day 2016 event at the Gariep Dam in the Free State.
GAME’S ON! South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA acting CEO at this year’s World Maritime Day 2016 event at the Gariep Dam in the Free State.

Addressing an audience of about 600 people, just about half of whom were high school pupils deliberately bussed in from surrounding rural schools for a career exposition, Mr Tilayi said the country’s maritime economic sector, long in the periphery of economic activity for particularly the black majority, was now an open canvass upon which talent is being be drawn from across all sectors of society for the greater benefit of all.

With South Africa’s maritime economic sector, through the Operation Phakisa initiative, projected to contribute as much as R177-billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and in the process creating as many as 800 000 to 1-million direct jobs by 2033, according to Mr Tilayi, it was incumbent upon leadership of inland provinces to quickly but carefully figure out how communities located here could benefit.

Part of the audience during the  World Maritime Day 2016 event observed in South Africa at the Gariep Dam in the Free State on Thursday, 29 September 2016
Part of the audience during the World Maritime Day 2016 event observed in South Africa at the Gariep Dam in the Free State on Thursday, 29 September 2016

Under Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy), key focus areas comprised marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture, marine protection services and governance, small harbours, maritime heritage, coastal and marine tourism involving also inland waters, skills and capacity building and research technology and innovation.

These are backed up by Government’s port and onshore infrastructure development – some with private sector investors – involving about R500-billion over the next decade spread across and in between the country’s eight major ports from Saldanha Bay in the west through to Richards Bay in the east.

Saldanha Oil & Gas 1In part, this was to take advantage of the business and job creation opportunities presented by the approximately 30 000 vessels (about 60% of total global fleet) passing South Africa each year, and about 13 000 of which dock at the country’s ports for a whole range of reasons – a global sea trade scenario Mr Tilayi described as positioning South Africa as the “corner café” of the global shipping industry given its equidistant location at the southern tip of the African continent between western and eastern countries.

Through this steadily increasing opportunity, previously neglected coastal cities such as Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape – now with the country’s deepest port, the port of Ngqurha – were benefitting by as much as R150-million per month due to recently introduced bunkering services.

IMG_2344Mr Tilayi, however, dismissed it as ignorance and a misconception that people in the country’s four coastal provinces stretching some 3000km from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean  – Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal – for close proximity only, were necessarily better advantaged or entitled to exploration and exploitation of maritime sector economic opportunities.

Indeed, from a maritime sector skills development perspective, he said, Limpopo – the most inland and furthest province from the oceans by more than a thousand kilometers in any direction – was proving the notion a myth as it competed equally, progressively with coastal provinces, ranking second to KwaZulu-Natal in the production of seafarers now numbering close on 12 000.

TRAILBLAZER: South Africa maritime transport subsector pioneer, Captain Tshepo Motloutsi, the first of three black women in the country to qualify as a ship captain, or Master Marine in 2016
A TRAILBLAZER: South Africa maritime transport subsector pioneer, Captain Tshepo Motloutsi of Limpopo the first of three black women in the country to qualify as a ship captain, or Master Marine in 2016

In addition to an increasing number of cadets from Limpopo at the country’s maritime sector education focused institutions, Mr Tilayi said the province made maritime sector history recently as a home to one of the first ever three young black women to qualify as Master Mariners qualified to handle any type or size of commercial vessel anywhere in the world.

Stressing an importance of recognition that skills and business opportunities in the country’s maritime sector were by no means limited at all by ocean-going, but rather involving occupations also as basic as farming, manufacturing or services with no direct connection with seafaring, he said the Free State province, the most central of the country’s five inland provinces, had every reason to figure out urgently how to take advantage of its location in order to position itself as a meaningful player also in the maritime economic sector.

FOCUSED: Arzebaijan Ambassador to South Africa, Dr Eikhan Polukhov among senior officials attending the World Maritime Day 2016 at the Gariep Dam in the Free State
FOCUSED: Arzebaijan Ambassador to South Africa, Dr Eikhan Polukhov among senior officials attending the World Maritime Day 2016 at the Gariep Dam in the Free State

Mr Tilayi also urged Government and the private sector to increasingly work much closer together. He said while it was Government’s role to facilitate business investment opportunities, it was private sector investors’ responsibility to actively show appetite through direct engagement and involvement.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks on the subject; (Audio only:  Click Here ) or for (Video; Click Here

Transnet's National Ports Authority (TNPA) CEO, Mr Richard Vallihu giving assurances to the meeting about NPA's commitment to stick to deadlines for earmarked oil and gas infrastructure development at the port of Saldanha during Monday/s first of week long Presidential Imbizos
Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA) CEO, Mr Richard Vallihu

Meanwhile, Mr Vallihu of Transnet’s National Ports Authority extended an invitation to the Free State community to take advantage of the ports authority vast training programme across several interrelated transport sectors – road, rail and sea.

He said the NPA with four divisions is currently involved in an infrastructure, transport and logistics investment over 10 years since 2012 worth half a trillion rand. Since 2012 to date he said, the NPA had spent some R124-billlion on these, but also as much as R8-billion in skills development alone, leading to the graduation in 2015 of close on 4 000 trainees in various skills.

To increase public awareness of the opportunities, Mr Vallihu announced that the NPA had launched a free WiFi service in mostly disadvantaged communities of the eight port cities to enable people to fully gain access to relevant information relating to the ports’ activities.

To listen to Mr Vallihu’s full remarks, Click Here


South Africa to beef up ocean environment protection against pollution: Department of Transport

South Africa also boasts cheapest tariffs for merchant shipping sector than any other ports in the world: National Ports Regulator


Xhariep Dam (Free State): 30 September 2016

The beefing up of ocean environmental protection, particularly pollution prevention as well improvement of labour conditions for seafarers are among a series of initiatives currently being pursued in broad efforts to enhance rejuvenation and development of the maritime esector, the Transport Department confirmed this past week during the global observation of the World Maritime Day 2016.

Speaking at South Africa’s own version of the event held at Xhariep Dam in the Free State on Thursday, and whose international theme for 2016 was: Shipping is indispensable to the World; Transport Department maritime transport branch acting deputy Director General, Mr Clement Manyungwana highlighted a series of activities the department was engaged in currently with several stakeholders – among them other Government departments, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – to strengthen the country’s hold and management of its maritime sector development drive.

According to Mr Manyungwana, among the initiatives he said were closely aligned to the country’s National Development Plan (NDP) were;

  • development of an integrated transport strategy,
  • enhancement of ocean security through acquisition of additional vessels,
  • promulgation of legislation to advance the protection of seafarers onboard vessels, as well as
  • development of further maritime policy and legislation

The improvement and enhancement of ocean environmental protection regarding particularly oil pollution was in part, in recognition and appreciation of the growth in shipping traffic drawn to newly established bunkering services at the country’s newest deep water port, the port of Ngqurha near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province.

For his full remarks (Audio only), Click Here

Ports Regulator & CEO, Mr Mahesh Fakir with Department of Transport Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga at the port of Saldanha on Monday
National Ports Regulator & CEO, Mr Mahesh Fakir

Meanwhile, National Ports Regulator CE, Mr Manesh Fakir said in efforts dedicated to attracting more global business trade vessels onto the countries’ port and to enhance local exports competitiveness, several studies had been conducted over the last year and which have led to identification of various efficiencies as well as establishment of a basket of incentives in the form of tariff reductions.

Mr Fakir said as a result, shipping liners reporting on South Africa’s ports now enjoyed lower prices of up to 50% less in comparison with comparable ports elsewhere in the world, with iron ore shipments specifically now paying less by up to 70-80% – largely due to the Rand/Dollar exchange effect.

On efforts to bolster South Africa’s export trade, he said that locally manufactured goods for export through containers also enjoyed as much as 70% lower tariffs compared containerized imports.

However, Mr Fakir warned that with global fleets increasing vessel carrying capacities leading to reduction in actual fleets, tariffs would not hold down for too long and might indeed increase over the next 10 years largely due to infrastructure maintenance and upgrading costs.

For Mr Fakir’s full remarks (Audio only), Click Here