Top brass bring weight to Eastern Cape maritime sector

NOVEMBER 10, 2015

Former navy commander and current CEO of the South African Marine Safety Association, Tsietsi Mokhele, has joined an impressive list of speakers for the Eastern Cape Maritime Summit this Friday at the Boardwalk ICC in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Mokhele, who is respected as one of the continent's greatest leaders, has been instrumental in leading a continent-wide maritime business awakening.

This includes his vision of African indigenous tonnage supported by African shipping companies, enhancing intra Africa regional trade and integration and boosting maritime research and skills development capacity.

The Eastern Cape Maritime Summit on November 13 in Port Elizabeth will spur trade and investment in the region and assist entrepreneurs and investors understand how to tap into the "blue economy'', increasingly hailed as South Africa's  proverbial golden goose, says Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Director Kevin Hustler.

The Eastern Cape Province with its 800km of coastline, and three ports, among the fastest growing terminals in the world -  is positioning itself to become South Africa's leading hub of maritime economic activity with the support of government's Operation Phakisa.

Operation Phakisa seeks to give traction to the South African government's announcement in October 2014 that it would be implementing ocean economy projects, which it expected to contribute more than R20 billion to the country's gross domestic product by 2019.

These projects form part of the government's National Development Plan.

Operation Phakisa will itself be well represented by Ms Lisa Geswindt, the national Deputy Director: Investment Promotions, Aquaculture Delivery Unit of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and by co-leader of the Oil & Gas work-stream of Operation Phakisa, Mthozami Xiphu - born and raised in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth - who is also the Executive Chairman of The South Africa Oil and Gas Alliance, a public-private partnership body for the promotion of investment in midstream and upstream oil and gas supplies and services in South Africa. 

With the theme of promoting actual business opportunities in the Maritime sector, the Conference, which runs concurrently with an exhibition, features leading business figures, including the MD of Tag Yachts Tim van der Steene and the CEO of the Marine Industry Association of South Africa, Vanessa Davidson.

South African Maritime Safety Association's Brian Colenutt, Coega's Principal Officer, John Lawlor of JWL Logistics and MSC's Arthur Waters are among the experts that will contribute to a session on Opportunities in Maritime Transport, which includes shipping, ship building and logistics.  

Opportunities in Aquaculture and Fishing will be represented by among others, one of South Africa's leading small fishing companies - Cape Town based MC5 and Karoo based fish farmer Liesl de la Harpe.

Opportunities in Tourism will be highlighted and  by WESSA's Matheanne Finnemore, Dr Shirley Parker-Nance, fishing guru Wayne Rudman and Global Tourism Consultant, Peter Myles, who will have just returned from the World Ocean Council Sustainable Ocean Summit in Singapore.

The Director of Sustainable Seas Trust, Tony Ribbink will unpack the opportunity for the region around its possible inclusion as a Global Hope Spot.

Developments and opportunities created around the province's three ports and within the East London and Coega IDZ will be showcased together with global developments and networks which are influencing business prospects in the sector, with the CEO's of the East London IDZ and Transnet Port Terminals, also presenting.

The Summit is presented under the auspices of the Nelson Mandela Bay Maritime Cluster with the collaboration of Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, Border Kei Chamber of Business and the Eastern Cape Department of Transport, the custodian of Maritime transport in the region, among others.

Inkanyezi Events CEO Andrew Binning said the drive for the region to maximise its participation in the global “blue economy”, was strengthened with the launch of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) in Nelson Mandela Bay and the development of a Maritime School at the NMMU.  Both institutions are also on the conference line-up, Binning said.

Entrance to the exhibition is free to pre-registered trade delegates, scholars and students.

More information is at www.maritimesummit.co.zaFor exhibition and summit enquiries contact Graziella Ventresca Norton ([email protected]), 041 363 0310