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The maritime sector – or “oceans economy” – encompasses a vast array of industrial activity including the building, operating, and maintenance of vessels; stevedoring; bunkering; fisheries; as well as coastal and marine tourism.
About a quarter of the South African coastline is situated in the Eastern Cape, and Nelson Mandela Bay with its two ports – Port Elizabeth and Ngqura – serves a critical role as the trading and infrastructural hub of the Eastern Cape. Port Elizabeth’s harbour, the fifth largest in South Africa, plays an important role in the movement of clean cargo, automotive parts and vehicles, while the deep-water Port of Ngqura, is located within Coega, South Africa’s largest Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Nelson Mandela Bay has a dedicated maritime cluster that has forged stronger partnerships between local government, business, and academia for the benefit of the region, and the launch of a specialist Ocean Sciences Campus in 2017 at the Nelson Mandela University in the city is another factor supporting the growth of the local maritime sector.
The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), also headquartered in Nelson Mandela Bay, plays a much-needed role between industry and educational institutions, with the aim to strengthen maritime education, research and skills development.