Offer aims to foster closer collaboration between maritime and tourism stakeholders

Fancy a prime berth at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront to commission your new yacht?  It is not as far-fetched as you think thanks to a new berthing deal for SABBEX members.

The V&A has confirmed a new ‘boatbuilder-friendly’ berthing tariff for SABBEX-registered companies seeking access to water for repair and commissioning purposes. The move is aimed at promoting the local boatbuilding industry amidst tough trading conditions and spiralling costs.

“It’s a little bit of payback to the industry,” V&A Waterfront marine and industrial executive manager Andre Blaine told SABBEX. “We want to make it more viable for boatbuilders to do commissioning, at a reasonable rate, to stimulate the ocean economy,” Blaine said.

The new SABBEX package entails a discounted rate for the V&A’s usual berthing facilities and management service. However the offering is dependent upon berthing availability.  Currently the V&A makes use of several berthing sites: east quay, north wharf, quay six, and parts of the V&A marina. Blaine said the berthing offer was prompted partly by a desire to engage the boatbuilding industry in the interests of growing the interrelated tourism and maritime sectors. The move also coincides with discussions around promoting a superyacht facility in Cape Town harbour which would significantly boost South Africa’s share of the global recreational boating trade.

The V&A also intends facilitating easier access to water, such as allowing boatbuilders to launch at the cruise terminal and then more easily berth at east quay – which has already proved useful. “This makes it easier for them, and we will make that effort to make it work at the cruise terminal,” Blaine said, adding that the V&A is committed to maintaining its good working relationship with Transnet National Ports Authority.

Blaine says the V&A wants to create an environment both safe and conducive to ship repair, where clients can view their boat together with the boatbuilder right at the heart of one of Africa’s greatest tourist attractions. He believes boatbuilding and superyachts add to the allure of the Waterfront, which is embedded in a working harbour – the oldest in the southern hemisphere. By wooing superyachts the V&A would help build Cape Town’s reputation as a centre of excellence in the maritime world, said Blaine. “If we could draw the superyachts here then that would be a whole new industry, and we already have the expertise here that can deal with that kind of refurbishment and maintenance. In the long run this is also something TNPA can be involved with, for we would need more facilities to bring in those vessels,” Blaine said.

The V&A has already commissioned two studies to determine what services are required to grow their share of recreational boating – in particular superyachts. “The next step is to get a costing position,” said Blaine.

SABBEX chairman Bruce Tedder said the V&A berthing initiative was a huge opportunity for SABBEX members.

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