This new integration, which operates voluntarily as a non-profit organisation, is aimed at sustaining; assisting, advancing and expanding the Western Cape’s maritime industry to an enduring and prosperous industrial sector.
This initiative was assembled primarily by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism; Raizcorp; SAASR; Damen Shipyards; the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Royal IHC, while supporting parties include Wesgro, SAOGA, SAIMI and Simonis Voogd Yacht Design.
The founders hope to expand its support base and invite other corporations, businesses and associated to become a part of this maritime cluster.
Expected success of the cluster
Consul General of the Netherlands Bonnie Horbach was of the opinion that the strength of the cluster will depend on the aims, objectives and ambitions of the cluster. This entails the continued growth and improvement of the maritime’s industrial supply chain. This relates not only to established businesses in the Western Cape. This maritime cluster must endeavour to support the current companies in the supply chain, as well as to generate more job opportunities within the region.
The cluster was founded on a constitutional commitment in accordance with South Africa’s agenda for transformation in terms of the marine economy. This document expressed the cluster’s dedication to necessitous businesses – through economic empowerment and generating sustainable jobs. The constitutional principles are also aligned with “Operation Phakisa” – a cross-sectoral programme espoused in SA’s transformation agenda which is concerned with its marine economy.
Rashid Toefy – Deputy Director General for the Western Cape Department of Economic Opportunities – said: “Oil and gas together with the marine sector form an integral part of our lives here in the Western Cape and consequently have been identified as priority sectors for the government.” He also stated that the cornerstone to the immense improvement seen in the ICT and textile sectors, following the implementation of clusters in these industries, was ensuring “a holistic approach incorporating business, labour and government so that the lives of everyday South Africans are impacted.” This confirmation of the success of industry clusters was pivotal in securing support from the Western Cape provincial government in the founding of a maritime cluster.
Expected role of the maritime cluster
The Western Cape maritime cluster will aim to promote and support an enduring and ever-developing maritime industry. Furthermore, it aims to promote further opportunities to maintain, unite and expand formerly disadvantaged maritime enterprises. They hope to accomplish this by campaigning; mentorships, networking, tactical coalitions, as well as recognising and fostering transcending entrepreneurs and pioneers.
Such strategic coalitions with training institutions; principal businesses; corporate stakeholders, as well as government organisations – will focus on continuously providing opportunities and occasions to foster the growth of business and skills development, in accordance with the interests and requirements of SMMEs. Simultaneously, these alliances will support corporate members, through the appropriate advancement of their supply chain needs.
The following stage will entail the cluster guaranteeing the acceptance of all affected prospective members. A business model aimed at sustainability will then be compiled and a committee will be commissioned to represent and govern members.
The Western Cape provincial government hopes to launch the maritime cluster sometime in October this year – as it is Transport Month and the partnership is a part of a national long-term strategy envisioned by the Transport and Logistics sector’s administration – the #cocreateSA campaign. This strategy includes a focus on port development.
With the proposed port development in progress, we as ship chandlers, are excited to see the impact on the improvement of our own services as well.