The Port of Port Elizabeth operated by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is transitioning into a Smart People’s Port and as part of its vision, it’s opening its doors to the public on March 25th and 26th, to experience the port like never before.
“The community in which we operate gives life to our very existence,” explains Port Elizabeth Port Manager for TNPA, Rajesh Dana. “Ports exist to serve economies and people together with communities lie at the very heart of these economies.”
“In receiving international flagged vessels, our port is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, and it’s a focal point in so many ways for so many, and we want people to experience this theatre of port operations. It’s our motivation for the People’s Port Festival.”
Aligned to the national strategy for South Africa’s ports, the creation of a smart port as seen in Europe and the Far East will embrace smart energy, logistics, processes, environment and management. “A Smart People’s Port will be a driving force for the socio-economic development of the city and our province,” adds Dana. “We cannot create and operate a smart port in a vacuum. It needs to be integrated with smart cities and its people.”
As part of the waterfront development for the city of Port Elizabeth, the role the evolved port will play is key. It will connect its theatre of operations with the city’s tourism and leisure vision. “We are ideally located to showcase the rich culture of South Africa to international tourists,” enthuses Dana. “We already have approximately 24 cruise vessels arriving annually. And as we become a ‘cleaner’, less industrial port, I am sure this figure will rise.”
It is the blend of port operations, the marine economy, local and international tourism and leisure pursuits available in the city, that will be showcased and be available for enjoyment at the TNPA’s inaugural People’s Port Festival.