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Western Cape Business 2021

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  • Tourism
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  • Port
  • Overview
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The 2021 edition of Western Cape Business is the 14th issue of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2005, has established itself as the premier business and investment guide for the Western Cape. The Western Cape has several investment and business opportunities. In addition to the regular articles providing insight into each of the key economic sectors of the province, a special feature on thriving agricultural exports gives insight into the details of what fruits and wines go where. An interview with the Port Manager of the Port of Cape Town provides more understanding of the scale of the logistics operation that is a major port. Another special feature examines the City of Cape Town as a national headquarters for the thriving asset management sector. The cover picture reflects an exciting new find of gas condensate off the south-eastern coast, a potential game-changer for the Western Cape and South African economies. This new development is covered in the overview of the oil and gas sector.


INTERVIEW The Port of Cape Town is investing in future growth Port Manager Mpumi Dweba-Ketana outlines key areas of focus for building the ship repair and container businesses while improving efficiencies in all spheres. What is the role of the Port Authority? Our role is to make space available for the use of terminal operators. We are a landlord in that we give facilities and infrastructure to people to operate those facilities. We have 11 terminal operators altogether. Please tell us how Covid-19 affected the port. When Covid started we all put plans in place, but even at Level 5 we were not closed because the Container Terminal, the Multipurpose Terminal and the Liquid Bulk Terminal all stayed open because they provide essential goods and services. We applied business continuation plans and we did not close for any single day for business. Mpumi Dweba-Ketana, Port Manager BIOGRAPHY The daughter of teachers, Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana, earned a BA, a BED and an HDE as a teacher and an Education Specialist for the Department of Education. Her switch to the maritime industry led to a BPhil in Maritime Economics and an Executive MBA. After working for the Department of Transport, Mpumi was appointed by Transnet National Ports Authority as the first Port Manager for the Port of Ngqura in 2012. She took up the Cape Town post in 2017. Were staff affected? A first fatality unfortunately happened outside and we saw infections start to increase, also in berthing services. We reduced the team from four to two and also reduced the number of gangs. Most unfortunately the increase in cases in Cape Town came among the skilled workers you cannot easily replace. Among operators, we were down from eight gangs to two. What steps were taken to overcome the challenges of Covid-19? From the month of June, we started to see the system stabilising, employees were either coming back from quarantine or isolation. We reviewed our strategy with regard to those with co-morbidities. It was decided that those below the age of 60 who wanted to come back to work could after a visit to the clinic to determine their fitness. We must acknowledge the role that was played by the Port of Durban. When we did not have operators, 20 operators flew in from Durban. We treat them as warriors, and their bravery was really appreciated. Have you been able to ramp up operations again? All terminals are operating now, and we are back to at least 80% regarding staff. Staff over 60 with co-morbidity still can’t come to work. What degree of coordination is required to run a successful port? We have virtual meetings with all terminal operators where we discuss the issues. Any likely challenges can be brought to our attention by local and provincial government or even the business chamber. We are able to hold each other accountable. WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2021 28

INTERVIEW In 2019, multi-sector engagement began on congestion issues. How is that progressing? We are making good progress. We are working closely via task teams on operational efficiencies. This includes truck staging. A truck booking system introduced by the Port of Durban has reduced the number of waiting trucks. The exciting news is that that programme is coming to Cape Town. We need to look at congestion holistically. A lot of variables need to be aligned. Operating hours, starting from the warehouse, the truckers and the terminals, all should be more synchronised. We have identified a space which will be a short-term truck-staging area. In the longer term we are looking at a permanent holding area. What are your top priorities? There are three main priorities: ship repair, the Container Terminal and investing in our fleet. We will complete capital investment in ship repair of about R1-billion. We are looking at civil and mechanical equipment, and electrical infrastructure. We aim to invest in our marine fleet. Some of our fleet is 40 years old, so we are looking at tugs (we aim to have three 70-ton tugs, in total we will have five tugs) and also in our work boats and our launches. We are going to procure a helicopter in order to improve efficiencies. We have a phenomenon of high swells of about 4-5m so it is difficult for the pilot boat to navigate. Improving the Container Terminal is another priority. What is required to be a world-class port? We need to work on the building blocks. The plan is that ships do not even go to the anchorage, the pilot goes out and then the pilot brings the ship alongside. We don’t want them to wait. An investment plan is in place. A maintenance strategy must ensure that operators are fully operational. A critical aspect is people: you need a highly efficient work force that has embraced a culture of continuous improvement. When that ship is alongside, they are hungry to service it. Where does the Port of Cape Town fit in with the country’s port strategy? We have eight commercial ports in South Africa and we must support each other. We can support the Port of Saldanha in terms of the oil and gas sector, for example, but we see ourselves playing predominantly in the container space. We want to strengthen the quayside to expand from one-million TEUs to 1.4-million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). We also see exciting opportunities in ship repairs. Sturrock Dry Dock is one of the biggest facilities in the SADC region and we want to draw more vessels to it. There could be 2 000 people employed on a ship. ■ 29 WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2021

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