Cape Town to Host African Ports Evolution 2012 Forum

Next month ports authorities and terminal operators from over 11 African countries are heading to Cape Town, South Africa to develop collaborative approaches to ports expansion and regional trade facilitation during the African Ports Evolution 2012 Forum that will take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront from 20 – 22 November 2012.

The development and expansion of ports is an initiative of national importance across Africa and a key pillar of support for African infrastructure development and economic growth. In South Africa, Transnet is predicting an 8% annual growth rate in containers coming through its ports which means that existing infrastructure will reach its limit in 2019. In fact, without significant development of seaports and harbours, economic activity across the entire continent could be stunted by lack of capacity and cargo congestion. With support from the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), the Ports Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA), Transnet Port Terminals, The Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative, the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat and the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, this forum is the maritime industry’s response to growing trade volumes and its opportunity to develop Pan-African collaborative approaches to ports expansion and modernisation.

Tau Morwe, CEO of Transnet National Ports Authority, will open the forum with a keynote address highlighting Transnet’s commitment to growth and development through its pledge to invest R300 billion over the course of the next 7 years into transport infrastructure development. Brian Bitsch, Chief Commercial Officer of Sogester Angola, will also be in attendance, delivering a case study presentation on the US$155 million investment that modernised and upgraded the Port of Luanda. Other major projects, such as the R8 billion investment into the Port of Ngqura that has transformed South Africa’s 8th commercial port into the 2nd largest container terminal in the country, will be unpacked to offer practical insight into overcoming the challenges of expansion and effectively building capacity at ports and harbours. “This conference will help Africa’s leading coastal nations collaborate with their landlocked neighbours to reduce the cost of trade, transport, and logistics across the Southern continent,” says Johny Smith, CEO of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group and featured Ports Evolution speaker.

Port engineers, terminal directors, harbour masters, shipping lines and importers and exporters from destinations as varied as Mauritius, Angola, Mozambique, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana and more will be present at the forum to share their experiences and successes in modernising commercial seaports and harbours for increased cargo handling capacity,” says Soren Du Preez, Programme Director for the African Ports Evolution 2012 Forum. Du Preez also adds, “Through this shared expertise and strategic collaboration, maritime leaders will forecast a path for African growth and capacity building in 2013 and beyond to reduce shipping logistics costs in Africa. South Africa’s shipping logistics costs are currently at an average of 15.9% whereas in India the average is 6.7%, and in the United States it is 7.7%.”

The forum is sponsored by Nanoland South Africa and Stefanutti Stocks Marine and participating ports include Transnet National Ports Authority, Transnet Port Terminals, Mauritius Ports Authority, Maputo Port Development Company, Luanda Port Authority, Lobito Port Authority, Tanzania International Container Terminal Services Ltd, and more. During the forum participants will examine a holistic approach to coastal development, looking at how to specialise ports towards better service for global trade and increased operational efficiency and port competitiveness.

With investment estimated to be more than $35 billion USD for Africa’s largest ports alone, the time is right for ports to strengthen their relationships with both public and private sector partners. The African Ports Evolution 2012 Forum is perfectly poised to be a catalyst for continental development; propelling Africa up the ranks as a global partner for trade and facilitating development amongst some of the world’s most lucrative emerging markets.

[mappress]

Press Release, October 9, 2012

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