- The department of transport wants to create a new state-owned enterprise, the South African Shipping Company.
- It would own at least one oil tanker, at least one chemical tanker, and a small fleet of other vessels.
- SASCO would be “the preferred national shipping carrier”, and would operate its own warehouses and refuelling operations at sea.
- Under an existing policy, it would also have preferential access to SA ports.
A recent news article published in the Business Insider South Africa states that the South African state wants to buy its own oil tanker – and a fleet of other ships.
Ambitions of South African Government
The South African government has ambitions to buy, or build, its own fleet of ships, a new draft law shows, including at least one oil tanker and at least one chemical tanker.
Those ships are to be owned and operated by a new state-owned enterprise, the South African Shipping Company (SASCO) which would be under the control of a minister designated by the President to appoint all board members and the CEO.
SASCO would be “the preferred national shipping carrier”, as the draft law stands, with a previous policy document pointing to some “radical” ideas on how that could be achieved.
The draft law, the South African Shipping Company Bill, was published by the department of transport this week ahead of a series of public consultations it plans later this month.
That could, in theory, see SASCO established as early as next year, possibly by way of acquisition; the plan specifically allows for “a shipping going concern” or other companies to be bought in order to be folded into the new SOE.
Strategic fleet the company will be required
The Bill sets out what must be in the strategic fleet the company will be required, by law, to acquire: an oil tanker, a chemical tanker, a container ship, a multipurpose bulk carrier (which can transport anything from coal to grain), a coastal shipping vessel (typically used to land cargo in shallower ports), and one or more bunker barges, ships that carry fuel and supply to other ships.
Under the draft law, the money to set up and run the company would come directly from state coffers, but the money to buy the ships would come from the “Industrial Development Fund”, presumably a mistaken reference to South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) rather than the best-known sovereign development fund, that of Saudi Arabia.
Since 2017, South Africa’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) has called for a local shipping company to be given preferential access to SA ports, and for the state to use other “radical” means to give such a company a leg up.
South Africa is the only country among BRICS nations that does not have its own ships, the department of transport says, and that is a strategic vulnerability.
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Source: Business Insider