INTERVIEW In 2019, multi-sector engagement began on congestion issues. How is that progressing? We are making good progress. We are working closely via task teams on operational efficiencies. This includes truck staging. A truck booking system introduced by the Port of Durban has reduced the number of waiting trucks. The exciting news is that that programme is coming to Cape Town. We need to look at congestion holistically. A lot of variables need to be aligned. Operating hours, starting from the warehouse, the truckers and the terminals, all should be more synchronised. We have identified a space which will be a short-term truck-staging area. In the longer term we are looking at a permanent holding area.
pilot boat to navigate. Improving the Container Terminal is another priority. What is required to be a world-class port? We need to work on the building blocks. The plan is that ships do not even go to the anchorage, the pilot goes out and then the pilot brings the ship alongside. We don’t want them to wait. An investment plan is in place. A maintenance strategy must ensure that operators are fully operational. A critical aspect is people: you need a highly efficient work force that has embraced a culture of continuous improvement. When that ship is alongside, they are hungry to service it. Where does the Port of Cape Town fit in with the country’s port strategy? We have eight commercial ports in South Africa and we must support each other. We can support the Port of Saldanha in terms of the oil and gas sector, for example, but we see ourselves playing predominantly in the container space. We want to strengthen the quayside to expand from one-million TEUs to 1.4-million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). We also see exciting opportunities in ship repairs. Sturrock Dry Dock is one of the biggest facilities in the SADC region and we want to draw more vessels to it. There could be 2 000 people employed on a ship. ■
What are your top priorities? There are three main priorities: ship repair, the Container Terminal and investing in our fleet. We will complete capital investment in ship repair of about R1-billion. We are looking at civil and mechanical equipment, and electrical infrastructure. We aim to invest in our marine fleet. Some of our fleet is 40 years old, so we are looking at tugs (we aim to have three 70-ton tugs, in total we will have five tugs) and also in our work boats and our launches. We are going to procure a helicopter in order to improve efficiencies. We have a phenomenon of high swells of about 4-5m so it is difficult for the
WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2021