Maritime Sector Development
The province and the country collectively believe that the maritime sector is a sleeping economic giant in terms of its potential impact to the provincial economy. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) estimates that 90% of world trade takes place through the international shipping industry. Locally, Transnet Port authority estimates that close to 80% of our trade with the rest of the world passes through the ports. Encouragingly, the ports of Durban and Richards’s Bay handle 60% of South Africa’s cargo tonnage. In the province’s quest to develop a strong and resilient regional economy and optimise the benefits presented to the province through its gateway status, the maritime sector has to be developed and supported.
Meanwhile, the Draft Integrated Maritime Strategy for the province has been developed jointly with key stakeholders. These stakeholders include the KwaZulu-Natal Planning Commission, eThekwini Maritime Cluster, eThekwini Municipality, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Department of Transport. The strategy shapes the future of the maritime sector in the province. The Maritime Conference was held in March 2013 to provide an opportunity to various stakeholders to enhance the content of the strategy.
Other key initiatives that have been undertaken include the finalization of the study on the development of a KwaZulu-Natal Maritime Centre of Excellence, which will operate under the auspices of the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board in the province. KwaZulu-Natal has also piloted the boat and ship building and repair supplier development programme. To increase the capacity of individuals who contribute to the sector it has also embarked on an intensive career development programme in boat building and sales sub-sector. The eThekwini Maritime Cluster which focuses on skills development, enterprise development, ship building and repair, knowledge management and industry promotion has been financially supported by the province which is also supporting the KwaZulu-Natal International Boat Exhibition.