Oceans economy

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Oceans economy
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Oceans economy
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The Western Cape has a coastline of more than a 1 000km, creating myriad direct and indirect investment opportunities. The province has three international ports – at Cape Town, Mossel Bay and Saldanha. Cape Town is South Africa’s principal port of export for goods such as fresh fruit, an increasingly popular destination for passenger cruise liners and ocean-going yachts, and a burgeoning fisheries hub.

The Western Cape offers great opportunities for the boatbuilding and rig-repair industries.

The revitalisation of South Africa’s maritime industry is a national imperative.

Western Cape ports are strategically positioned for access to Asia and West Africa.

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South Africa ranks among the world’s top 15 shipping nations, based on the tonnage transported to and from its ports.

The Western Cape is the production hub of the South African boatbuilding industry, and home to large ship-repair and heavy-engineering companies servicing oilfield clients, as well as smaller manufacturers and specialist equipment suppliers.

Although many marine manufacturing operations are located in and around Cape Town, there are also boatyards in St Helena Bay, Saldanha Bay, Swellendam, George and Knysna. The Western Cape’s maritime companies employ around 3 200 people.

The province was responsible for 83% of South Africa’s fishing in 2017, and is the largest exporter of fishing products of all provinces (85.6%).

The Western Cape dominates marine aquaculture production in South Africa and is home to a number of large commercial aquaculture producers.

Farmed products include oysters, mussels, abalone, line fish and pelagic species. More than 80% of all South African sea-based agricultural exports originate from the Western Cape and support a R6-billion industry.

This sector is also supported through Project Phakisa at a national level.

Aquaculture in South Africa is divided into freshwater and marine aquaculture. The Western Cape dominates the country’s marine aquaculture production, accounting for 92% (3 308 tonnes).

There are more than 355 registered processing companies in South Africa, with six commanding a 47% share in the processing sector.

The Western Cape dominates marine aquaculture in South Africa, with 62% of the country's marine farms, followed by the Eastern Cape with 17%, Northern Cape with 15% and KwaZulu-Natal with 6%. The province is also home to the most freshwater species in South Africa.

The Western Cape is South Africa’s main marine manufacturing centre, generating more than R2.3-billion in 2018 in exports revenue, and housing around 69% of the country’s commercial boatyards.

Ideally located on various trade routes, Cape town is well placed to tap into the regional and global oceans economy.

The province is the production hub of the South African boatbuilding industry, and South Africa’s largest boat builder, Robertson and Caine, is located in Cape Town. The city also has South Africa’s only boatbuilding school.

The South African boatbuilding sector is a leader in multihull catamarans, and also has capacity in niche commercial and public-sector markets such as ferries, patrol boats, firefighting boats, and transport ships for the oil and gas sector.

The industry is known for competitive labour costs when compared with manufacturers in the developed world.

Cape Town is well-positioned geographically to become a service hub for the West African oil industry.

The city is home to unparalleled boatbuilding skills on the continent and the southern hemisphere, and boats built here are known for their resilience.

Boasting the West Coast’s largest economy, Saldanha Bay, about 140km from Cape Town, is known for its naturally sheltered harbour that has enabled the development of a working port, extensive steel operations and an industrial development zone, turning the town into a strategic offshore and maritime hub.

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The Wesgro Investment Promotion Unit provides a free and confidential service to help you establish and grow your business in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Our team of expert Portfolio Managers have more than 40 years of combined experience in supporting new investors commercialise their businesses in the region, and in helping established businesses grow and expand.

Read our latest sector and country fact sheets and research reports to identify new opportunities to grow your business.

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