News Flash 12-10-17


Marine operations partially resume at Port of Durban

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has announced that marine operations at the Port of Durban have partially resumed following disruptions caused by inclement weather experienced on Tuesday, 10 October 2017. TNPA has declared 80% of the navigable area of the port safe for marine operations. The results of the sounding surveys indicate that there is some obstruction on the seabed that could pose a risk to navigation. In the interest of ensuring safe navigation of vessels, operations have commenced in channels that are clear from obstruction.

“We are extremely appreciative of the excellent collaboration between TNPA and various stakeholders who acted quickly and efficiently to partially restore normality at the port. Our immediate focus is to continue with the implementation of the recovery operations,” said TNPA chief executive, Shulami Qalinge. Port teams remain on scene. The Business Continuity Plan (BCP) will remain in place until TNPA has restored normality at the Port of Durban. At this stage, Durban marine operations are still expected to resume by midday today (Thursday) pending the outcome of the sounding surveys.

WC schedules conference to boost halal exports

In an effort to boost halal exports out of the Western Cape the provincial trade and investment promotion agency, Wesgro, is hosting a small-scale conference for international halal product buyers. According to Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, this is a part of the provincial strategy to enable the Western Cape to become one of the leading global exporters in the trillion-dollar Halal products and services market. The plan is to double the region’s exports by 2025 which will bring an estimated $58 million to the economy.

The ‘Halal Products and Services Inward Buying Mission’, taking place at the end of the month, will showcase the region’s offering and infrastructure to international buyers and stakeholders,  facilitate new business streams and build long-term partnerships. The conference is part of a longer-term plan by Cape Town and the Western Cape to host the biggest Halal expo in Africa in October 2018. According to the latest figures, the Western Cape has experienced an annual average export growth of 17.84% over the last five years – worth $9 billion.  Halal exports – which include meat, dairy, fresh fruit, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals – currently contribute less than one per cent of that total.

“The international Halal industry is an important trade opportunity for Western Cape companies. To this end, Wesgro has intensified its trade efforts within this sector and is achieving remarkable results. From the export promotion inception programme in 2016, the total trade value secured from the international market has been estimated at R320million,” said Harris.

‘SAA destroying more wealth than it produces’ – commentator

Amid growing discontent over the latest bail-out for South African Airways, questions have been raised about the benefits of maintaining a national airline. “The problem today is the airline destroys more wealth than it produces,” says James Peron, president of the Moorfield Storey Institute, an independent think tank. “Any business that is losing money, regardless of ownership, is destroying wealth. It is not contributing to GDP but taking away from it.”

SAA faces a R4.8-billion loss for 2016/17 (and a cumulative loss since 2012 of R15.8 billion). Where could that money come from? It comes from taxpayers, both consumers and producers. For consumers, the extra taxes government raises to fund SAA leaves them with less to spend on other products, says Peron.  “As for the jobs SAA creates, what makes the supporters of SAA assume those jobs will disappear? If SAA disappeared overnight there would be a period of adjustment but other airlines would step in and fill the gap – they would profit in doing so. That sort of collapse, however, becomes more and more likely the greater the debt SAA incurs. The more that debt damages the financial rating of the country, the more the collapse of SAA will bring down along with that of just one airline.

“If SAA were to be sold to a private competitor, it is unlikely we would see much decline at all and many of the consequences of collapse could be avoided.”  With SAA out of the market, we are more likely to see more robust competition and lower air fares, which would benefit passengers directly and increase trade and tourism by lowering prices, in his view. “It is a myth that government can create jobs by subsidising losing enterprises. Every rand’s worth of employment created on one side of the ledger comes with a rand’s worth of taxes and the unemployment it creates on the other side. Worse yet, the jobs governments tend to create are high paying in comparison to the jobs destroyed, resulting in an increase in gross unemployment.  “Redistributing wealth does not create new wealth, just as distributing jobs does not create more jobs.”

CT airport named ‘Africa’s best’

Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) has been recognised as Africa’s best. The airport walked away with the leading airport award at the 2017 World Travel Awards Africa gala ceremony held in Rwanda on October 10. “Through our Cape Town Air Access partnership, we have added ten new direct routes and secured 11 expansions since the launch of our Project Khulisa growth strategy,” said Alan Winde, minister of economic opportunities. “We’ve seen an increase of 27% in international air arrivals in the past year.  Improving air access has played a major role in driving this increase.”

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