The Cape Town city region is in a unique position globally as a transport and logistics hub. It is home to two ports, Cape Town and Saldanha and an international airport which is ranked top in Africa. With anticipated growth in cargo and passengers into and from the Western Cape, and industrial development in Saldanha, Accelerate Cape Town hosted a Thought Leaders breakfast to discuss what is the being planned to maximise the opportunities for the region.

Our first speaker was Tebogo Mekgoe , the COO of ACSA who spoke about the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA’s) plans to transform Cape Town International Airport into an aerotropolis (business hub) that could ultimately extend to a 20 kilometre radius beyond the airport. Mekgoe said: ‘ACSA’s aerotropolis strategy is designed to offer businesses speedy connectivity to suppliers, customers and enterprise partners nationally and world-wide. It will deliver firm and regional efficiency by generating economies of speed, while supporting the regional population in a sustainable manner’. Tebogo also stressed a far more joined up approach in infrastructure planning especially around an airport precinct.

Next we heard from Nico Walters, Head of Strategy at Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) who spoke about the developments at both the Saldanha IDZ and Cape Town port. He said that as a state owned entity with multiple priorities, TNPA can no longer invest in everything and need to work with the private sector, including foreign investors. This includes the port of Saldanha with an investment opportunity of R13 billion for offshore oil & gas supply base, dedicated rig repair berth, and an extension to the Mossgas repair jetty. He also announced that the V&A were awarded the development of a cruise liner terminal at the Port of Cape Town and will invest just under R179m to finance, design, and develop the terminal. The unused site of Culemborg has been identified for logistics-intensive operations such as distributors, light manufacturing, though no timeframes were specified.

Finally we heard from Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro who welcomed the TNPA announcement to strengthen the Cape’s position as a key business destination in Africa. Describing ports as levers of growth, Harris acknowledged the TNPA’s collaborative approach with the private sector to help establish the region as a major transport and logistics hub. In speaking of the potential, he said: ‘Already, 54 out of 98 of the multi-national companies that have invested in Cape Town have done so to access the African market. Exports from the Western Cape totalled R74.87 billion in 2013, an increase of 16%, while Western Cape ports – including Cape Town, Saldanha and Mossel Bay – handle 20% to 30% of the cargo in South Africa.’ Tim also spoke about Wesgro’s focus on increasing direct flights into Africa as there are currently only 6 non-stop flights up Africa.


Please see also the photos from this Three Ports, One City networking session.