Planned development of the port of Saldanha on the West Coast could be further delayed by an ongoing legal wrangle between the Transnet’s National Ports Authority (TNPA), the Ports Regulator and private sector investors, Sunrise Energy and Avedia Energy, it emerged this week.
The possibility of further delays to the oil and gas port infrastructure development were highlighted by the Ports Regulator and CEO, Mr Mahesh Fakir earlier this week while attending a Presidential Imbizo week at the port of Saldanha to receive and evaluate NPA progress reports.
The Monday gathering involved stakeholders in the oil and gas industry of the maritime sector, government and involved parastatals’ officials including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
The dispute apparently involves a contest over certain concessions made by the NPA to one of the private sector businesses, believed to be Sunrise Energy to build and operate a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) import facility in the port of Saldanha and against which Avedia Energy is reportedly most unhappy with.
The matter recently received a ruling of the High Court and about which Mr Fakir said the Ports Regulator might appeal against.
To read more on some particular details of the dispute click here or here
Below is Mr Fakir’s remarks on this and related issues:
But the organisation will have to do more, fast; as “50 more” are needed: Deputy Minister
Saldanha Bay: December 07, 2015
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has received praise from Government for its speedy facilitation of the registration of cargo trade vessels now carrying the country’s flag in the past year.
The accolade came from national Transport Ministry’s deputy Minister Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga during a Presidential Imbizo week event held at the port of Saldanha on Monday.
Speaking during the open imbizo of the maritime economic sector (oil and gas subsector) chaired by the Transport Ministry and attended by the media, to receive reports on progress achieved so far with new infrastructure development being undertaken at the port of Saldanha, Ms Chikunga hailed SAMSA’s pace in achieving the registration of at least three cargo vessels in 2015 under the South African flag.
Ship registry is among priorities identified under Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) launched a year ago.
The first of the three private sector trade vessels now carrying the country’s flag was registered in September 2015, followed soon thereafter by two others.
Ms Chikunga noted how she had put ‘tremendous pressure’ on SAMSA to “deliver” on the goal but went further to describe the feat as exemplary of the high pace denoted by Operation Phakisa (meaning “speed things up”) in implementing timely, programs and processes jointly identified by Government and the private sector as required for the country’s economic rejuvenation and growth, but especially the maritime economic sector.
“We made promises to the people of South Africa. We have to deliver on those.” She said, adding that while the ministry was happy with the development, the country needed more vessels registered.
“We now want to see 50 more registered and we want to know from the institution (SAMSA) how soon can we have that 50 in our books,’ said Ms Chikunga during a media conference.
However, the applause for SAMSA contrasted the mood of both the deputy Minister as well as private sector representatives that greeted a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) report on progress achieved so far with development of the port of Saldanha.
The gathering was the first of several this week during which Government and private sector principals across sectors are meeting to thrash out challenges facing the economy and to come out with clear plans on how best to overcome these.
Ms Chikunga said the imbizo at Saldanha Bay on Monday had been convened to receive and evaluate reports by both her office as well as concerned maritime sector investors on TNPA’s progress with projects earmarked for the port of Saldanha in terms of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) plans for the Marine Transport and Manufacturing lab – one of five targeted for prioritization in the revitalization of the country’s maritime economic sector.
Precisely, in terms of the MTM lab recommendations, the port of Saldanha was approved by Government for the establishment of a purpose built oil and gas port infrastructure, with TNPA charged with facilitating rapidly not only the development, and unlocking investment in new and existing port facilities around the country, but also with creating and implementing a public procurement and localization programme, as well as developing a strategic marketing campaign and value proposition for target markets.
According to a presentation by port of Saldanha manager, Mr Willem Roux, the oil and gas infrastructure intended for development at the West Coast port, at an estimated investment of approximately R10-billion, include a proposed Mossgas quay extension, a general maintenance quay, a new oil and gas repair berth as well as an extension of the current iron ore berth.
This would be in addition to a long planned development of an Industrial Development Zone alongside the port.
It emerged at the imbizo on Monday the expectation was that with timely execution of the MTM lab related plan for the oil and gas port infrastructure by the TNPA, at least 3 000 direct and indirect jobs would be created each year since 2014 – a figure said should have doubled to 6 000 new direct and indirect jobs to date.
However, tempers flared at times during the imbizo after it emerged that according to TNPA current plans as presented by Mr Roux, the key facilities of the development at the port of Saldanha earmarked for the oil and gas subsector would most likely be ready for utilization by about 2019 instead of the scheduled 2017.
This according to Transnet, was due in part to the need for the relocation of manganese ore from both the port of Saldanha as well as the port of Port Elizabeth to the Ngurha deep water port also in Port Elizabeth. This would take three years through to 2019 to complete, the parastatal reported.
The report did not go down well with neither Ms Chikunga nor the investment, business and local community representatives virtually all of whom saw the performance as ‘slow’.
Speakers all bemoaned what they described as a reflection of South Africa’s apparent inability to stick to undertakings, and instead seemed at ease with moving further time frames for delivery of identified infrastructure development programmes.
Business representatives said this practice did not only paint a bad image of the country in the investment community but was also proving costly to those investors already committed.
In addition, local business and civic society representatives were far from pleased that the number of jobs planned for the port of Saldanha infrastructure development were far from being realized – but especially that there were not even figures presented at the meeting to illustrate if any jobs at all had been created, in order to alleviate high unemployment in the community of just over 100 000 inhabitants.
It helped little that TNPA officials cited also ongoing discussions within the institution intended partly at ensuring that businesses currently utilizing the port ,such as mining; were not impacted negatively by the new projects.
An apparently frustrated Ms Chikunga responded: ‘If decisions take 14 months to make…by people sitting together every day, who therefore can organize one another and discuss, what do I say? What report do I take to the President…and you are expecting investor confidence?
“It cannot be that you are taking 14 months to sit and discuss. The second issue for me is that we do not respond quickly as South Africans, why is that? If are you are saying we as the Department of Transport are appointing people who do not know what they are doing, then tell us, so that we can look into the issue!
“We are a country like other countries. We must be able to respond quickly enough as other developing countries are doing. I am talking about Kenya. I am talking about developing African countries. A delay in an Operation Phakisa project has so much impact on other projects..and surely it should be frustrating investors even more because there is money involved,” said Ms Chikunga
TNPA Chief Executive Officer Richard Vallihu, however assured both Ms Chikunga and the business and local community representatives that deadlines on the projects would be met, and that a substantial number of jobs were assured to be created in this and various other current projects underway, inclusive of the deepening of parts of the Durban port.
With regards community benefits but especially in terms of jobs and related matters, Mr Vallihu said his institution was doing far more, as it had embarked also on investment in schools along its ports intended to offer skills development programmes for labour, specifically youth and women that would be absorbed in the maritime sector.
The imbizo wrapped up with a visit of the earmarked port area in Saldanha designed for oil and gas infrastructure development.
Clip One: Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga outlines the purpose of the Presidential Imbizo (Transport sector/maritime sector)
Clip Two: Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga responding to Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) report on progress achieved to date on the development of port infrastructure for the Oil and Gas subsector at the port of Saldanha
Clip Three: Transnet National Ports Authority CEO responding to concerns raised by both Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and business, investment and local community representatives at the imbizo.
For Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga’s media conference video remarks, click here
World’s maritime sector turns its eye on South Africa
Saldanha Bay: Tuesday, 08 December 2015
South Africa’s stature as a significant international maritime economy player is due to gain considerable extensive global focus in the next five years following to confirmation of its agency as the next host of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly in 2020.
The IMO’s Assembly is the highest governing body of the organization consisting of all member States. It meets once every two years and is responsible for approving the institution’s work programme, voting the budget and determining financial arrangements.. The assembly also elects the IMO council.
South Africa falls under ‘category C’ of the IMO Council as one of “20 States which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation, and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.”
Countries in the category include Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey.
The inaugural hosting of the IMO assembly in South Africa, involving possibly as many as 230 countries, was announced by national Department of Transport deputy Minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga in Saldanha Bay on Monday.
She was hosting the first of a weeklong Ministerial 2015 ‘imbizos’ intended to facilitate direct interaction and robust engagement between senior Government officials, including Cabinet Ministers, with industry principals across the country’s economic sectors on current and planned projects.
Ms Chikunga is directly charged with supervision of among others, the maritime transport and manufacturing aspects of the nation’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) launched 14 months ago.
She said the IMO last Friday not only retained South Africa ‘member state’ status ahead of several African countries but also charged the country with responsibility for hosting the rest of the global maritime countries’ assembly in 2020.
“We have recently returned – last Friday to be precise – from the International Maritime Organizaton Assembly (2015) where it was resolved and announced that South Africa will host the 2020 IMO International World Maritime Parallel event.
A mammoth task
“The announcement places a mammoth task to the maritime industry of this country to speed up the implementation of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) to enable us to showcase the same to the countries of the world, come 2020.
“We urgently need to establish a 2020 World Maritime Parallel Event Planning Task Team comprising of both public and private sector, which will ensure that South Africa and Africa’s opportunity is exhaustively utilized.”
Ms Chikunga said South Africa’s retention of its IMO Council membership status was “a victory (is) not only for South Africa but for our African continent.”
“The representation of Africa into these very influential organizations can never be overly emphasized. There is a massive potential for growth backed up by global statistics on Africa as the current epicenter in foreign direct investment given its young active population,” said Ms Chikunga.
She urged stakeholders in the maritime sector to begin preparing for the next IMO gathering due in two years’ time in preparation for the Assembly scheduled for South Africa.
Referring to the country’s new Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) campaign she said it was geared towards ensuring focused investment in maritime economy infrastructure development as a catalyst and incentive for further and expanded private sector involvement. She urged for greater cooperation.
“For us to become global players we noted the importance of investing in maritime transport infrastructure to attract shipping and shipping services to our shores. To achieve the people’s social contract we need to pull together as stakeholders to move South Africa forward.”
Monday’s maritime sector specific Ministerial Imbizo at Saldanha Bay was based on the coastal town’s port having been earmarked as among three of the country’s major ports intended to contribute to the country maritime economic sector development through new infrastructure development.
Attending the event were a host of key public and private sector players in the maritime sector, including Transnet’s National Ports Authority chief executive officer, Richard Vallihu, Ports Regulator CEO, Mahesh Vakir, and others; mainly from the gas and oil subsector, and ship manufacturing and repair subsector.
Ms Chikunga said: “Saldanha is one of our very strategic ports identified for Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) as an Oil and Gas repair hub for South Africa…and the success of the Saldanha Bay port project will translate into the creation of an estimated 15 000 direct and indirect jobs.
“In order to reach the target, come 2019, a minimum employment of 3 000 jobs per annum is required. This means we should at present be sitting on approximately 6 000 jobs created.
“Tantamount to this will also be a massive contribution to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) that is estimated at R18-billion once it is fully functional.
“We are cognizant of the fact that delays will cost the nation tremendously, (and) it is thus important that both business, parastatals and government have to find speed on infrastructure delivery as it determines the speed of employment and economic progression.”
Clip: Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga announcing the appointment of South Africa as a host of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly in 2020.