Maritime Chamber wants to contribute more to South Africa’s economic recovery
Industry organisation the Maritime Business Chamber has written an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa seeking to advise government on how the maritime sector can contribute to the country’s economic recovery.
Chairperson Unathi Sonti writes that South Africa has, since 2013, been working on a strategy for the sector, including an integrated maritime development framework and industrialisation programme for the country, which includes Operations Phakisa and the current process of the Oceans Economy Master Plan.
The letter states that South Africa’s maritime sector has not yet realised the R177-billion estimated contribution it could make to the country’s gross domestic product.
The chamber has established a platform to start an industry conversation that it says will accelerate efforts by government and the industry to rejuvenate the oceans economy.
The letter highlights the chamber’s belief that the implementation of the South African Maritime Charter has the potential to generate revenue of R56.3-billion.
The letter notes that a new path for the oceans economy starts with lobbying the government to establish a Maritime Ministry to consolidate efforts to build a sustainable industry.
The organisation posits that this will provide socioeconomic benefits and ensure South Africa maintains a competitive position.
The chamber has also called on the President to be cognisant of several factors.
This includes that, in his appointment of a Transport Minister, it must be noted that such a Cabinet Minister needs to be well informed about maritime transport matters.
Also, it calls for a review of the South African Ports Act of 2005 with immediate effect in order for the country to allow public-private partnership or private investments for development of private berths and terminals at South Africa’s multi-purpose ports.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
With regard to the Department of Transport (DoT), the letter states that the department is not close to achieving transformation targets, and that the full implementation of the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy is stalling.
“We support the State-owned shipping lines on a public-private partnership [basis], but we must take lessons from other African States like Nigeria and Ghana. This action is possible if there can be strict policies in enforcing the tonnage reservation clause,” the chamber writes.
It says the Transport Merchant Shipping Bill, which has been submitted to Cabinet, must be fast-tracked, with the inclusion of binding regulation or policy that will state all South African flagged vessels must be manned by local seafarers.
It also called for the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, together with the Department of Small Business, to make provision for maritime industry financial support that will support small businesses.
Courtesy of Engineering News – See Full Article