TOWARDS the end of the month of March, an exciting initiative will take place in Nelson Mandela Bay. The People’s Port Festival, hosted at the Port of Port Elizabeth by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), will be more than just a festival – it is the start of a mind-set where residents of Nelson Mandela Bay are encouraged to take ownership of the harbour and its surrounding waterfront.
"Long after the excitement of the Festival has died down, the residents should continue to have this sense of ownership of the Port of Port Elizabeth instilled in their hearts. An integral part of the city’s economic wellbeing, historical roots and a vital linkage with the rest of the world, the Port Elizabeth harbour is a key asset of Nelson Mandela Bay – and therefore each and every resident of the city," said Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO Kevin Hustler.
Hustler said the Business Chamber wholeheartedly supports this specific initiative, the People’s Port Festival, and other similar initiatives where tourism and leisure activities at the Port of Port Elizabeth are encouraged.
"In particular we welcome the boost that the festival will give to the local economy, as well as the opportunity for all the residents of the city to have an interactive experience in the harbour and learn more about the inner workings of a port and get greater exposure to the trade opportunities of the Ocean Economy," Hustler said.
The TNPA’s inaugural People’s Port Festival has been widely supported by our partners and member companies, including the Nelson Mandela Bay Maritime Cluster (NMBMC) and Magnetic Storm, who won the tender to organise the People’s Port Festival.
"We remain steadfast in terms of our vision for the Port of Port Elizabeth – mainly the development of the waterfront for tourism, retail, residential and leisure purposes with full access for the community of Nelson Mandela Bay. This can only be achieved by expediting the move of the tank farm and manganese ore facility from the Port of Port Elizabeth to Coega. We will continue to lobby on this very important issue until the dream is realised," Hustler said.
Further to the move of the two facilities, it is the position of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber that the land should be rehabilitated accordingly for future use.
"It is our view that this land must be unlocked for tourism, commercial and retail opportunities associated with the greater Lower Baakens Valley/ Harbour development, in partnership with the Mandela Bay Development Agency and Transnet," Hustler said.
The People’s Port Festival is set to take place on 25 and 26 March at the Port of Port Elizabeth. For more information, please see the full programme.