South Africa shipowners call for port efficiencies

An international vessel docked at the deep sea water port of Ngqurha in Port Elizabeth (File Photo)

Cape Town: 08 February 2018

Administrative efficiencies at South Africa’s eight commercial ports from Saldanha Bay on the west coast through to Richards Bay on the border of Mozambique  will have to stack up significantly and stay stacked up if expected greater productivity by the shipping sector in the country is to be achieved, the South African Ship Operators & Agents Association (SASOAA) has urged.

The message to the country’s maritime sector authorities, among them the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), was shared with maritime sector representatives at this year’s South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) ‘Stakeholders’ Dinner’ held in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.

The SAMSA event held annually at the foot of the Table Mountain in Cape Town to coincide with the congregation of among others, the country’s maritime sector stakeholders in the city for the country’s Parliament’s official reopening  in early February every year, is an informal gathering designed to allow for sharing of views on current trends in the sector.

This year’s venue for the SAMSA event was the Mount Nelson Hotel, a stone’s throw from the South African Parliament.

However, the country’s State of the Nation address in Parliament scheduled for Thursday, 08 February 2018, was postponed. The SAMSA event went ahead anyhow.

Addressing more than 50 industry representatives as well as Government officials, Chief Executive Officer of SASOAA, Mr Peter Besnard said it was all very well that the shipping subsector in the country was correctly expected to show more productivity, but that there were creeping constraints, top of which were declining administrative and related efficiencies at the country’s ports.

South African ports are said to have a terminal capacity to handle container traffic totalling  8 013 000 TEUs per annum and just over half of which  is available as
installed capacity.

Mr Besnard singled out the port of Durban and to a degree, that of Richards Bay; as among ports in the country that were increasingly showing declining  efficiencies in ship cargo handling.

According to Mr Besnard, requisite tooling, equipment and manning were increasingly becoming a problem that was contributing to the stifling of the shipping subsector’s greater productivity.

He said as things stood, anything between 14 to 17 days were being lost by the shipping subsector, at great cost, due to creeping inefficiencies where more than 5 000 containers would stand idle and not being attended to as they should be.

“I get reports  every morning that between 4500 to 5000 containers stacked underground are ready for collection and they are not moving… those containers are in a congested state, and in next line is that two and half thousand of those containers are unassigned..which means that no truckers are assigned to move them.”

To listen to his full address, Click on the video below.

More on the SAMSA event to follow….





Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) needs real speed, warn investors

Pretoria 14 February 2017

HARKING FOR HASTE: Mr Chris Sparg (Front Right) MD of Dormac waiting to be seated while Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Second Right) acting CEO of SAMSA and Mr Mavuso Msimango (Centre Back) welcome some of about 60 maritime economic sector principals gathered in a networking session organized by SAMSA in Cape Town last Wednesday evening.

South Africa’s maritime economic sector development programme, Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) will need to speedily live up to its name and ‘hurry up’ sooner than later if it is to draw any significant investment into the sector, in the process laying conducive conditions for business development and job creation, Mr Christopher Sparg, Managing Director of Dormac has warned.

CALLING FOR SPEED: Mr Chris Spark, MD of Dormac addressing a SAMSA Networking Session in Cape Town
CALLING FOR SPEED: Mr Chris Sparg, MD of Dormac addressing a SAMSA Networking Session in Cape Town

He was speaking during a SAMSA organized industry networking session held in Cape Town to coincide with the country’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) presented by President Jacob Zuma in Parliament last Thursday.

Mr Sparg was among 60 odd maritime sector industry principals gathered for the event in Kalk Bay on the eve Mr Zuma’s SONA speech and in which he was expected to share Government’s perspective and goals about the specific programme.

The idea, according to SAMSA was to allow for the sharing of views and engagement with Government policy owners many of who were in the city for the opening of Parliament.

In his speech, Mr Zuma made reference to Operation Phakisa as among key priorities areas of government’s focus in overall economic development activity. Highlights of planned action included the inclusion of marine tourism as part of the package, and also the dedication of Simonstown as the “government garage  for all state-owned vessels, including the maintenance and repair of government-owned vessels, through the newly established South African Navy/ARMSCOR/Denel partnership.”

NETWORKING SESSION:  Mr Chris Sparg, MD of Dormac in conversation with fellow maritime sector industry guests during SAMSA's Networking dinner in Cape Town ahead of SONA 2017
SHARING PERSPECTIVES: Mr Chris Sparg, MD of Dormac in conversation with fellow maritime sector industry guests during SAMSA’s Networking dinner in Cape Town ahead of SONA 2017

From a maritime economic sector industry perspective however, the launch of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in 2014, essentially to speed up processes towards unlocking bottlenecks and creating a conducive environment to increased investment, business development and job creation, was simply not living up to expectations, charged Mr Sparg.

“We’ve yet to experience the speed about which Operation Phakisa was launched” said Mr Sparg, adding that this was leading to uncertainty and frustration among especially those already invested in the local economy.

Mr Sparg leads Dormac Marine and Engineering, a division of Southey Holdings that is a major player in the country’s ship repair, industrial fabrication and oil and gas maritime fields.

For his full remarks, please Click Here




Double digit increase in maritime sector budget allocation is a sign of Government commitment

A commercial cargo vessel entering the port of Port Elizabeth in May 2016.
A commercial cargo vessel entering the port of Port Elizabeth in May 2016.

Pretoria: 03 June 2016

A double-digit increase in the budget allocation by the Department of Transport for maritime sector development in the 2016/17 financial year is yet another signal of Government’s commitment and determination to strengthen focus on the important sector of the country’s economy.

Championing South Africa maritime economic sector skills development: Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters with the country's first group of cadets taken on board Vuka Marine's commercial cargo vessel, the Cape Orchid for a six months sea based training.
Championing South Africa maritime economic sector skills development: Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters with the country’s first group of cadets taken on board Vuka Marine’s commercial cargo vessel, the Cape Orchid for a six months sea based training.

In her budget vote for the 2016/17 financial year presented to Parliament recently, Minister of Transport Ms Dipuo Peters said that the maritime sector’s budget allocation had been raised from R111-million in the previous year to R122-million in the current, an increase of 10%.

This was more than twice the increase the Department of Transport received for its total budget, which rose about 4% from R53.5-billion in the previous year to R56-billion in the 2016/16 financial year.

Naturally, the bulk of the department’s budget allocation went to road transport (R24.7-billion), rail transport (R19-billion), public transport (R11.7-billion), with civil aviation and maritime allocated R253-million and R122-million respectively.

The figures reflect increases of approximately nine (9) percent for road transport, four (4) percent for rail transport, two (2) percent for public transport, 69% for civil aviation and 10% for maritime sector.

According to Ms Peters in her budget vote on May 10, the double-digit budget increase in the allocation to the maritime sector reflects the increasing focus the country now has on development of the sector for transformation and formal integration in the main economy.

logo1She noted specifically the role played by the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in this regard and whose visionary and pioneering role over the last few years had contributed immensely to among others things, the launch of Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy and the latter whose six labs are currently at work developing focused strategies for rapid development of the sector.

Ms Peters told Parliament that: “Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow South Africans; in the last two years the country increased its focus on the opportunities our more 3000km of coastline provide when Operation Phakisa; Oceans Economy was launched.

“This then called for the DoT and other departments to align strategic, legislative, policy and regulatory frameworks. This was done both for governance and economic reasons.

“The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has wasted no time in embracing this groundbreaking economic stream.

SAIMI letterhead“SAMSA has struck a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the Department of Higher Education in a National Cadetship Programme. This has resulted in one hundred and twenty-four (124) cadets being placed on eighteen (18) partner vessels.”

She further noted that the establishment of the country’s Ports Regulator had begun to make positive impacts, noting that: “A strategy to make doing business with our South African ports attractive, has seen zero percent (0%) increase on all cargo dues – thanks to the Ports Regulator South Africa. In support of drought relief and its impact on food prices, maize cargo dues for the first 5 million tons will be discounted by 50% in 2016/17 financial year.”