Yesterday, the City of Cape Town, in partnership with the V&A Waterfront officially launched Blue Cape, a non-profit organisation and Strategic Business Partner (SBP) whose aim is to maximise the economic contribution of the Ocean Economy for the city.

The City has been a key stakeholder in the development and resilience of this high growth sector, which already drives billions of rands in investments into the country.

‘Boat-building, despite the challenges and pressures facing the global economy due to Covid-19, has weathered the storm. This latest Strategic Business Partner, launched with funding support from the City and the V&A Waterfront, will focus on marine manufacturing, including boat-building, superyachts, and ocean sports.

‘This key ocean-orientated partnership has been established to ensure economic growth, job creation, and social upliftment by investing in skills development and policy advocacy in the Ocean Economy,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos.

Cape Town is one of the top catamaran-producing cities in the world, while the Western Cape is the largest marine manufacturing centre within South Africa, generating over R2,3 billion in 2018 in exports revenue, and housing approximately 45% of boat-builders.

Cape Town’s boat-building exports have grown by approximately 20,5% year-on-year since 2014 and exports 80% of its produced items. This has ultimately attracted a positive trade balance of around US$73m (about R1,042 billion) annually.

Since 2014, the boat-building industry, including commercial and ocean sports, has secured investments worth over R25 billion and created over 4 500 direct jobs and 7 000 indirect jobs.


‘With Cape Town’s strategic geographic position and clean and safe berthing facilities, the City has the competitive edge in the Ocean Economy. It is well resourced to grow the economic return for the supply chain in support of superyacht visits inclusive of berthing, victualling, maintenance and entertainment. Additionally, through the Blue Cape partnership, we hope to see the increased use of superyacht crew training facilities on our shores.

‘The emergence of Cape Town as a cost-effective supplier to international markets has, over the years, created a demand for people with the skills to build yachts and boats and to perform support functions in a boat-building process.

‘There are three growth areas in the Western Cape Ocean Economy that will continue to contribute to our economic growth, providing jobs and social upliftment, namely marine manufacturing (boat-building, surfboards, kites, sailing apparel, wetsuits, etc), superyachts and ocean sports (recreation, events and adventure tourism).

‘By refocussing our efforts, we can adapt to the post-Covid future and navigate the immediate to medium-term horizon until the virus has been brought completely under control.

‘This means that by implementing innovative ideas and solutions such as the Blue Cape collaboration, we can come out stronger than before,’ said Alderman Vos.

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