Media Alert: Minister Winde Addresses African Ports Evolution
This year’s African Ports Evolution forum comes ahead of key developments for the Western Cape’s ports.
The Western Cape Government, in collaboration with the City of Cape Town and the national government, is developing a proposal for the redesign for the Port of Cape Town precinct.
In addition, we are awaiting the imminent designation of the Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) in Saldanha Bay by the national Department of Trade and Industry.
The designation of the IDZ in Saldanha Bay will result in the creation of 14 700 jobs in the Western Cape, predominantly in the oil and gas vessel repair industry.
The skills required by this sector are largely artisanal. To assist in preparing for the spike in demand of artisans, we have recently launched an Artisan Development Programme to train more people in this field.
South Africa’s ports are already the critical link for goods passing to the Southern African Development Community. The bulk of trade between sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world is moved using marine transport. Forecasts predict that in the years ahead, especially in light of growing demand for goods in the booming African economies, trade volumes will continue to climb.
Cape Town is home to South Africa’s second busiest port, after Durban, and handled 2 775 vessels in 2012.
As Africa’s largest economy, South Africa has an important role to play in working with our neighbours to formulate best practices for the continent’s ports. This includes partnering with other strategic ports in Africa.
According to a recent World Bank Study, the average cargo dwell-time in sub-Saharan ports is 20 days.
The African Development Bank defines dwell-time as the period the cargo remains in a terminal’s in-transit storage ahead of being either exported via ship or being imported via road or rail.
The average waiting time at ports in Asia and Latin America is under one week.
Cape Town and Durban, however, emerged as having the lowest container dwell-times with six and four days respectively.
In addition to cargo waiting times, lengthy customs clearance procedures and inadequate and expensive transport costs have been cited as another concern at ports.
We know that unnecessary regulations or “red tape” costs the South African economy R79 billion each year.
To help combat this in the Western Cape, we launched a Red Tape Reduction Programme in 2011 to eliminate regulations that are hindering business growth.
It is also through forums such as these that we are able to identify and resolve red tape issues.
And while we need to focus on African solutions, there are best practices we can draw on from other regions including the Port of Amsterdam in the Kingdom of Netherlands and the Port of Singapore.
In this regard I am pleased that Amsterdam Port Consultants have joined the forum’s programme to share their insights, especially in light of the Port of Amsterdam’s focus on exploring opportunities in southern Africa.
The Western Cape Government, in collaboration with key partners, is positioning the region’s ports as catalysts for economic growth and job creation. I believe that through partnerships, we can increase the benefits of our port developments for our people and for our province.