The development and transformation of the maritime industry had to go hand in hand with Africa’s industrialisation, and the continent had to deal with these two aspects simultaneously, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) CEO Tau Morwe said on Friday.
Speaking at the inaugural Africa Maritime Indaba, he said that, while buying ships was important to grow the continent’s maritime industry, Africa had to go “back to basics” to ensure success.
“We have to go back to basics to understand what the shipping industry is all about, from freight forwarding to ships agencies,” he said.
He stated that while there was big business in the maritime industry, it would be useless to buy ships when government policy was to keep exporting unbeneficiated raw minerals.
“If we continue to do this, it will not be African ships transporting the manganese or iron-ore, as the countries buying the ore will send their own ships, eliminating the shipping benefits for Africa,” he explained.
Further, Morwe pointed out that, over the next seven years, Transnet would spend more than R307-billion on infrastructure development, including pipelines, rail infrastructure and ports infrastructure, which would assist in forming a solid base for a local maritime industry to be built upon.
However, he pointed out that, recently, TNPA was disappointed at having received no bids for the design, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of a ship repair facility at the Port of Richards Bay.
Despite the fact that 13 companies had bought the tender document and nine attended the site visit on July 19, no tenders were received by the closing date of September 25, Morwe said, adding that TNPA was considering the reasons for this and the way forward.