SAMSA Holds BRICS Forum to Develop South Africa’s Maritime Capacity

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SAMSA Holds BRICS Forum to Develop South Africa’s Maritime Capacity

18 March 2013 –

Durban, March 18, 2013: On the eve of the International BRICS meeting in Durban, The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Dikobe Ben Martins, supported by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), will host the BRICS Maritime Trade Forum.

he media are invited to attend the forum where expert industry speakers discuss the specific challenges facing the maritime industry especially as it relates to growing, developing and transforming the patterns of current unbeneficial structure and nature of South Africa’s maritime trade. They will explore the opportunities for developing and transforming the current maritime trade malaise and put forward perspectives on enabling investment in the South Africa’s Maritime shipping industry.

The event, a precursor to the 5th BRICS Summit will explore avenues of mutual beneficial cooperation in the maritime sector between all the BRICS nations.

SAMSA CEO said Commander Tsietsi Mokhele said the forum provided the opportunity of “strategic partnerships” with all key maritime stakeholders to spearhead a maritime development agenda and was a “rare opportunity for South Africa and Africa”.

South Africa hopes to leverage transport as a catalyst for economic growth, transformation and development and it placing a particular focus on maritime by designating this year as “South Africa’s Year of Maritime”.

“The Maritime Trade Forum will therefore examine ways in which South Africa can correct the imbalance and find a means of making the maritime sector a lucrative one for the country. It will also path a way in which the country can play a maritime gateway leadership role in the region and the continent,” Mokhele said.

South Africa, which despite being a major sea-trading nation strategically positioned as the regional economic and trade hub for the SADC region, lags behind its BRICS partners in the maritime sector. Currently 98% of the country’s internationally bound trade is carried by ships and ships are the key conveyor of import and export cargo with our main trade partners.

South Africa’s total imports and exports constitute approximately 60% of its $410 billion of GDP with 98% of the country’s internationally bound trade carried by over 12000 deep-sea trading vessels per annum. However, all cargo carrying vessels along our coasts are foreign-registered and staffed by foreign crew. This means that it does not contribute to the development of South Africa or translate into wealth creations for its citizens.

Every year at least R160 billion for shipping services is paid to foreign owners and operators. In contrast Brazil, Russia, India and China have in recent years become regional maritime powers with vast maritime interests and capabilities in sea trade, commerce and naval influence.

Unlike all its BRICS trade partners, who continue to expand their already considerable fleets, South Africa does not have a domestic shipping company and has no merchant ships to carry its over 260 million tonnes of cargo. Brazil operated an estimated fleet of 172 merchant vessels, Russia 1891 vessels, India 534 and China had 2044 merchant ships.

Some of the issues to be discussed at the Forum include:

1. Establishment of South African shipping companies, including preferential access to cargo.
2. Exploring the establishment of an African coastal shipping system.
3. Establishment of support industries for the offshore energy, minerals and living resources.
4. A ship financing facility through the proposed BRICS Development Bank.
5. Improving Maritime Safety and Security
6. Marine manufacturing and infrastructure development

DATE: 24 March 2013
VENUE: Hilton Hotel, Walnut Road, Durban. (next to the ICC)
TIME: 13h00

Issued by FBI Communications in collaboration with Blue Leaf Communications on behalf of SAMSA. All queries to be directed to:
Farhana Ismail (farhana@fbicommunications.com), cell +44749522369
Samukele Ngubane (sam@blueleafcomms.co.za), cell +27785560965

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