South Africa shipowners call for port efficiencies

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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….

 

 

 

 

Sustained collaboration remains key to meaningful maritime sector development: SAMSA

Cape Town: 09 February 2017

KEEPING IN TOUCH: SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Left) and SAMSA Board Chairman, Mr Mavuso Msimang chatting to one of more than 60 maritime economic sector principals attending a networking session by SAMSA on Wednesday evening.
KEEPING IN TOUCH: SAMSA acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi (Left) and SAMSA Board Chairman, Mr Mavuso Msimang chatting to one of more than 60 maritime economic sector principals attending a networking session by SAMSA on Wednesday evening. Looking on (extreme Right) is SAMSA Company Secretary, Mr Moyahabo Raphadu

Continued collaboration through regular engagement and exchange of ideas, views and opinions among key role players and interested parties remains the key to any positive achievements in the redevelopment and growth of the country’s maritime economic sector, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

This, according to SAMSA Board Chairman Mr Mavuso Msimang, was the underlying message behind a networking session hosted by the organization in Cape Town this past week, involving more than 60 officials from across subsectors of the country’s maritime sector as well as State departments and organizations.

img_4388Several of the industry principals and government officials were in the Mother City for Thursday’s 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament by President Jacob Zuma.

The networking session, a feature of SAMSA’s stakeholder engagement program, served also this year as a precursor to more robust formal engagements in the next few months among which will be the 2nd South Africa Maritime Investment Conference (SAMIC 2017) currently earmarked for Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape in the first half of this year.

DSC_0148This will occur just over two years after the launch of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) in 2014 which event firmly placed the country’s maritime economic sector central to the country’s broad economic development goals.

img_4397On Wednesday evening, Mr Msimang, flanked by some members of the SAMSA board as well as executive managers including acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; hosted the exclusive networking dinner for the maritime sector leaders at the Harbour House restaurant located in the heart of a quaint small fishing habour in Kalk Bay – some 30km south east of central Cape Town.

Global economic uncertainty remains

In his brief remarks to the group, Mr Msimang noted that global economic activity was not at its best and that recent political developments around the world, but specifically the exit of Great Britain from the European Union (a.k.a Brexit) and the recent outcome of the United States presidential elections had added economic risk factors with unpredictable consequences for global trade currently.

img_4407He said the same could be said of South Africa’s own socio-political and economic situation.

Mr Msimang said it was against the scenario that it remained absolutely important that various partners to the country’s maritime economic development sector continue to work closely together in managing and solving emerging challenges as well as in exploring for profit all opportunities.

He said SAMSA appreciated its role as facilitator and committed it that: img_4411“We will endeavor to promote events like this with the hope that the platform provided will enable people to talk and engage much more easily. We will support the industry in its deliberations with various government policy owners as well as playing our part in the governance of the maritime economic sector.”

(For some of Mr Msimang’s remarks, Click Here)

There are reasons for optimism

Meanwhile, in his welcoming remarks, Mr Tilayi noted that while the country’s maritime economic sector continued to experience a set of problems and challenges requiring sustained engagement with particularly government, there were reasons to be optimistic.

img_4419He said current joint efforts between government and industry could see more positive outcomes achieved, particularly in relation to policy development, ships registration under the country’s flag, a rejuvenation of the country’s fishing sub-sector vessels fleet through recapitalization, as well as renewed impetus in efforts towards the sustained development of the country’s cadre of seafarers and related.

Mr Tilayi emphasized however, the critical importance of continued engagement among key role players in the sector, also stressing SAMSA’s continued facilitation role between industry and government.

(For some of Mr Tilayi’s remarks: Click Here)

Mr Andrew Millard, a director of shipping group, Vuka Marine – Cape Town based owners of the first three shipping vessels to carry South Africa’s flag in 2015 – expressed appreciation of the role played by SAMSA and indicated that while there were numerous challenges facing the sector still, there were also numerous reasons for optimism, particularly with regards expansion of a vessel fleet carrying the country’s flag  – a particular development deemed vital to especially the training of a cadre of South African seafarers.

(For more of Mr Millard’s remarks: Click Here)

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