SPECIAL FEATURE The principal component of the Dube TradePort is a new international passenger and cargo airport but rail and road links up and down the coast to the two major sea ports make it easy to switch cargo between different modes of transport. Large quantities that arrive by sea can be dispersed in smaller volumes at speed by air. Durban’s annual throughput of containers is about one-million, more than 60% of the country’s total. A priority is to improve loading and unloading times: there is a Back-of-Port Interface Local Area Plan which would turn much of the area south of the port into a logistics section. As part of the national plan that aims to get things done in a targeted way (Operation Phakisa) the Port of Durban is upgrading its dry dock and buying new cranes to speed up operations. There is also an ambitious plan to dig out the old airport south of the city, connect the big hole to the sea and make it a harbour – this would allow Toyota to roll their new vehicles directly from the factory floor to the hold of a ship. The Port of Durban is already home to a variety of maritime companies. South African Shipyards (SAS) is an experienced manufacturer of ship hulls. To improve their competitiveness, three South African shipbuilders (SAS, Damen Shipyards Cape Town and Nautic Africa) have agreed to pool their resources on contracts. Luxury boat-builder Austral Marine has been acquired by Nautic Africa which is known for its military boats. Cooperation pacts like this one might be a good template for the nation’s ports and the rig/boat repair and servicing sector. With the Angolan and Mozambique oil and gas industries growing bigger every day, it is unlikely that one port could cope with demand anyway. The creation of a marine manufacturing and repair cluster at Richards Bay is being considered. Richards Bay, apart from being the country’s main site for the export of coal, is also a registered Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) and consequently attracts a range of investors. The fact that port IDZs are a key plank in national energy policy (which links to the Oceans Economy plan) was emphasised in late 2016 with the allocation by the Department of Energy of two Liquefied Natural
Gas (LNG) plants: one option for private investors to build and operate such a plant is at the Port of Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. The other option has been allocated to the Coega Industrial Development Zone. The Port of Richards Bay has added a new berth on average every second year. A strong selling point for the port is its deep-water infrastructure, encompassing a maximum permissible draught of 17.5 metres and the huge Richards Bay Coal Terminal, which is the country’s primary site of export for coal. The Port of Richards Bay has six cargo-handling terminals and handles 60% of South Africa’s seaborne cargo.
Planning ahead Delegates to the second annual Durban Maritime Summit in 2017 came from a wide variety of sectors including government, academia, shipping, logistics companies, port management, project financing, insurance and international maritime organisations. The topics covered at the first such event in 2016 illustrate how all-encompassing is the relatively new field of the “Oceans Economy”, and what great potential there is for economic growth and job creation through maritime activity. Subjects included: maritime skills development and training, maritime security, maritime enterprise development, making the marine manufacturing and the transport sectors more competitive. The development of the cruise-liner industry is also under the spotlight. The conference is a joint venture between the eThekwini Maritime Cluster and the eThekwini Municipality. The annual conference is intended to position Durban as a Smart Port City in line with the National Government Growth Plan (NGP) 2030. The Maritime School of Excellence trains students for the Sharks Board, Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and for the wider field of maritime and logistics employers. More than 250 students graduated in 2016 as cargo coordinators, marine pilots, tug masters and operators of lifting equipment.
KWAZULU-NATAL BUSINESS 2017/18
Published on May 3, 2013
KwaZulu-Natal Business 2016/17 is the eighth edition of this highly successful publication that has since its launch in 2007 established its...