A dedicated maritime cluster in the Eastern Cape will boost regional economy. (Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For more free images, visit the image library.)The cluster idea is a joint initiative of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber. The first meeting of the partners took place in February in Port Elizabeth and was attended by 80 invited participants, all with a direct interest in the sector.
“Port Elizabeth is historically a maritime city and yet for some reason it has never developed a maritime industry,” says Peter Myles, coordinator of the interim task team elected at the inaugural meeting to look into the viability of the venture.
Myles is also chairman of the NMB Tourism Industry Association and a lecturer at NMMU in marine tourism and coastal recreation.
The interim task team will appoint a steering committee, which will develop the policy, goals, strategy, actions and resources for a cluster framework aligned to the province’s integrated provincial maritime plan, currently under review.
The steering committee will start by investigating the feasibility of ship building and other related industries, including the establishment of a maritime university.
Port Elizabeth’s harbour, the fifth largest in South Africa, plays an important role in the movement of clean cargo, automotive parts and vehicles. The magnificent Port of Ngqura, now South Africa’s premier trans-shipment hub, lies a mere 20 km to the north.
The Bay, as the city is fondly referred to, also has
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