When an august media institution such as CNN makes the above statement then it is a signal for the business community as a whole to sit up and take notice.
CNN provide a fascinating glimpse into Africa’s biggest ports and the Port of Nqura here: Ngqura: Inside ‘world’s fastest growing port’ – CNN.com.
They do this as part of their CNN Marketplace Africa – a weekly show offering a unique window into African business on and off the continent.
Small waves lap at the hulls of the ocean-going container ships as they approach the South African Port of Ngqura. Some of these large boats have come from as far away as South America, and the shelter of Nelson Mandela Bay is a relief after the Atlantic Ocean swells.
The vessels are met by Dave Keller, who’s been working these waters off the country’s Eastern Cape Province since 2010. “As a pilot it’s my job to take over from the captain when a captain gets close to the port,” he explains. “It’s my job to navigate him safely into the port, manoeuvre his vessel and then safely put it alongside the quayside.”
This welcoming procedure guides ships into the province’s newest port, which is also a multi-billion dollar industrial park that’s growing faster than anyone expected. It’s this combination of maritime port and landside infrastructure just outside the city of Port Elizabeth that is making the operation boom.
“We started off with nothing,” Keller recalls. “People said that this will be a white elephant and that this will never be busy,” he adds. “We started off in October 2010 … and from there on it’s grown – from one ship a week, sometimes we do between five and 10 ships a day now, he continues. “We’re 24 hours a day, so since the past four or five years that I’ve been here it’s been growing every single week.”
One reason not everyone was excited with the construction of Ngqura was that there were already seven other ports in operation in the country, whereas one of the stated aims of the authorities is to “minimize duplications” between shipping facilities. And even though approximately 96% of the country’s exports are being conveyed by sea, some of these ports aren’t performing as well as some regional competitors.
Transnet, the wholly state-owned freight business, is trying to improve the port sector by investing in cranes to move containers from ships to shore more efficiently. But a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers blames “comparatively high tariffs payable by vessels calling at South African ports” for the decline in shipping business.
But these issues haven’t stopped Ngqura from becoming the fastest growing terminal in the world in February 2013, according to Drewry Maritime Research. And now the port is the third busiest in the country, only moving fewer containers than Cape Town and Durban according to the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics……
Read more on the CNN site and discoiver Africa’s biggest ports – Ngqura: Inside ‘world’s fastest growing port’ – CNN.com – and whilst you are there tell them PE says thanks!