SABBEX board members speak out about pandemic constraints

Import problems are hampering economic recovery in the maritime sector, even as the boating market rebounds overseas.

That’s the view of SABBEX board members Nathan Thwaites and Warren Fraser who believe the current logistical challenges put a dampener on business activity. “What I have seen as a challenge, besides the pandemic, is delays of imports coming into this country,” says Thwaites, South African sales manager of Viking Life-Saving equipment. “This causes not only unhappy clients but a heavy load into our supply chain,” Thwaites says. “We hope and pray that this will pass so we can continue to supply and serve our clients with our innovative equipment and service concepts and remain the front leader for Marine Safety.”

The import challenge requires retailers and suppliers to find creative solutions to the challenging environment, according to Fraser, owner/manager of Associated Rigging. “I would imagine the trick at the moment and going forward to next year is to remain flexible and street-smart, traits I believe we as an industry are very strong at,” says Fraser. “We share similar challenges within the ever-changing world we live in, and adaptation is key.”

“We are mostly constrained by imports. Notably the rising costs, unpredictable deliveries and not knowing exactly what will arrive. The trend is that suppliers are not providing and receiving full consignments, leaving us short of materials.”

Fraser says similar import constraints exist throughout much of the world, affecting local members as much as their foreign counterparts.

However Fraser also sees opportunity in adversity for all those able to adapt: “As a whole, and judging by, the order books across the industry, we are in a fantastically strong position in that we have the work and projected income to sustain ourselves long term. It is how we manage the changing theatre that will best see us through.”

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