City meets with Transnet to discuss solutions to Cape Town Harbour problems
8 March 2022
STATEMENT BY THE MAYCO MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH, ALDERMAN JAMES VOS
Ports are key drivers of business and urban development, particularly in cities such as Cape Town, which are geographically remote from other global and national cities, while also being a major entry point into South Africa and the continent. It is therefore of great concern that when I engage with businesses, I hear of the challenges they have with the port. Read more below:
Earlier this month, the Economic Growth officials and I, together with the Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas, and his team, met with the local Transnet leadership to plot a way forward from recent and longstanding issues that have beset Cape Town Harbour. Some of the problems plaguing the port operations relate to logistics, equipment and infrastructure.
I hold the view that any inefficiencies will harm the Western Cape’s economy and cost jobs, at a time when we desperately need to be creating more of it.
It is my firm belief that if national government does not prioritise the allocation of funding and resources to fix the situation, it undermines the critical role that the port plays in supporting exports and economic growth.
Cape Town Port Manager, Rajesh Dana, who was appointed in December, led the Transnet team in our current engagement. Even though his appointment was quite recent, I was encouraged that Mr Dana and his officials came forward with positive and proactive proposal updates for dealing with the concerns raised.
I also used this opportunity to highlight the many contributions the port makes to the Cape Town economy and the City’s image of an outward-looking, economically vibrant metro. I also highlighted the importance of the port infrastructure in terms of industries related to the oceans economy. Our recently formed and City-funded BlueCape special partner is researching these possibilities, including how to step up oceans protection, and growing marine manufacturing and ship repair.
We are also honing our focus as a cruise destination and have formed a partnership – Cruise Cape Town – with Transnet, the V&A Waterfront and others whose goal is to realise the metro’s potential in this space. There are massive economic benefits for the Mother City in this market in terms of crew and passenger spend and with our ultimate goal to position Cape Town as a home port where people would fly into the city and then begin their cruise trip from our shores, all elements of our offering must be world-class.
I also welcome the decision of the Port Regulator in December 2021 to limit tariff increases. This will have a profound effect on both the competitiveness of the Port of Cape Town as well as Cape Town companies using the port.
Many of the challenges facing the port are complex and will take time to resolve but I am greatly encouraged by the proactive manner of the new port leadership and their willingness to engage with us and other stakeholders as we jointly work towards growing our city’s economy.