CLLR James Nxumalo
As Durban readies itself to host the 14th World Conference Cities and Ports, we are reminded about the significance of our unique position to serve as the gateway to Africa and the rest of the world. As a port City, the harbour provides a leading export service to the rest of Southern Africa and is an important import and export service for the City’s economy. EThekwini accounts for 65 percent of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial GDP and is considered as the main driver of growth in the province.
Furthermore, the significance of the eThekwini economy impacts positively on neighboring municipal areas, making it an economic stimulus for the wider region.
Durban continues to serve as a regional trade hub for many countries in Southern Africa and the potential for this role to be used to diversify and expand the local economy in the areas of trade, manufacturing and logistics should be highlighted.
Our City just like other major Cities has not been immune to the challenges brought about by the global economic slump. The world economy is still recovering from the financial crises of 2008 and the economic recession that followed.
As the port city of Durban, we take our role seriously and have adopted a pro-development approach and proactively attract industries in key target sectors, such as logistics and export orientated manufacturing. The Municipality monitors closely the cost of doing business and we strive to reduce red-tape to facilitate investment as well as the growth of small business.
In recent years, road and rail development has taken place along the coast, to allow relatively easy movement of goods and this has helped Durban cement its place as the region’s ’port hub’.
Research has shown that by 2003, Durban was the foremost container handling port in Africa and second only to Melbourne (in year 2003 figures) in the southern hemisphere.
In the coming years, extensive development will take place in the City as Transnet seeks to significantly increase the container handling of the port of Durban by making structural changes to the port.
The port expansion will surely ensure our City’s ongoing contribution to the country’s growing economy.
Lastly but most importantly, 1 would like to extend a warm welcome to all the delegates who will be attending the conference in our beautiful City.
Transnet National Ports Authority
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), one of five Transnet operating divisions is responsible for the safe, effective and efficient economic functioning of South Africa’s eight multi-cargo commercial ports, which it manages in a landlord capacity.
The Port of Durban is the country’s biggest and busiest port. It has a 21km circumference, over 4000 commercial ships visits annually, and generates more than 60% of the combined revenue of the country’s ports. In the 2013/14 financial year the port handled 87 771 170 metric tons of cargo with TEUs and automotive units converted to tons.
It is the gateway port supporting not only Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal province, Gauteng, the country’s economic hub, and the Southern African Development Countries. In Africa it is the second largest container port after Egypt’s Port Said and the fifth largest container port in the Southern Hemisphere.
For the port of Durban to maintain its position as a catalyst for economic development it is engaging and collaborating with the city to ensure an improved transport and logistics network, proper urban regeneration, enterprise development and an overall improvement in the environment and quality of life for the city’s citizens.
This year the 14th AIVP conference is hosted for the first time in South Africa by the beautiful port city of Durban. It is no coincidence that the conference is taking place when TNPA is on a drive to execute the National Ports Act of 2005.
The Act stipulates that in addition to the Authority’s port ownership and landlord functions and those of facilitating the development of trade and commerce, it must collaborate with educational institutions to promote technical education regarding port services and facilities, and act as a change agent to facilitate the integration of the port with the city and its surrounding communities. It is in the spirit of the latter that TNPA is embarking on its mandate to implement the Act.
We are proud to be associated with this prestigious international conference through the partnership with City of Durban in hosting the prestigious gala dinner which will be the grand finale to the three-day deliberations.
On behalf of Transnet National Ports Authority, I welcome all the delegates to the conference and trust that you will experience the warmth of our country, Durban and specifically the Kingdom of the Zulus.
Jean Pierre Lecomte
For more than five years, the global economy has been struggling to stay the course in the midst of rapidly evolving social changes and ever more pressing environmental challenges. Some countries are still facing a lingering crisis, while others show double-digit growth. Economic conditions evolve rapidly or can even change radically from one month to the next. Faced with these global developments, port cities cannot simply follow, or undergo, events: today, more than ever, they need to become innovators. Port cities take their responsibilities seriously, and they know the importance of mutual cooperation, sharing new ideas on energy use, new ways to combine port-city functions with urban development, and imaginative solutions for tomorrow’s industrial scenario. Local communities are now important actors engaged in defining port-city strategies. Port cities know the importance of exchanging information and ideas, and they are quick to draw lessons for the future. The dynamics of port-city relations are gradually evolving, and the result must be a more agile and efficient port city, where quality of life is much improved: the Smart Port City. And the Smart Port City will be at the heart of discussions at this 14th World Conference Cities and Ports.
And what could be more fitting than the world’s port cities holding this important meeting in an emblematic port city faced with today’s great challenges? Durban, South Africa, not only exemplifies the new port city dynamics: it is also the major maritime gateway into an entire country and into a continent with a promising future before it. Durban Bay combines multiple urban and port functions, its port-city territory are being completely reorganized, its economy is adapted to both industry and tourism, its cultural and demographic characteristics are unique, and it has adopted innovative policies to prepare for climate change. The port city of Durban is the ideal destination and venue for our Conference. It is with great enthusiasm that we will be seeing you there. Welcome to South Africa, welcome to Durban!
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