Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the launch of the Nelson Mandela MSC Cruise Terminal

Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the launch of the Nelson Mandela MSC Cruise Terminal

THE SPEECH: The launch of the Nelson Mandela MSC Cruise Terminal is more than a milestone. 

It is an important step towards restoring the position of this city as a premier cruise tourism destination, alongside the finest in the world.  Let me begin by thanking the Nelson Mandela Foundation for partnering with this massive infrastructure project that will boost tourism to Durban, the province and the country, and contribute positively to the economy.  

There are few, if any, places in the world that have not heard the name Nelson Mandela or do not know about his iconic stature.  Our country’s founding father is a name that is foremost in the minds of the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit our shores every year.  That it will be the first name cruise liner passengers will be greeted with upon disembarking here in Durban, harnesses all the positive spirit we want tourists to South Africa to feel and experience. 

I want to congratulate the Mediterranean Shipping Company or MSC and Africa Armada Consortium on the launch of this world-class facility, which has already contributed significantly to the expansion of the local tourism sector. The global cruise tourism market is worth an estimated 174 billion US Dollars and alongside the City of Cape Town, Durban is perfectly placed as a destination of choice for cruise ships.  

Last year was a boon for the local cruise tourism industry. The latest cruise season injected an estimated R1.2 billion into the economy of the Western Cape alone. We want to see similar numbers being attracted to KwaZulu-Natal. This terminal will play an important part in doing so. 

The Nelson Mandela MSC Cruise Terminal partnership was facilitated by the Transnet National Ports Authority via a thirty-year concession agreement for the design, development, financing, construction, operation, maintenance and transfer of the cruise terminal to the Ports Authority at the end of the concession period.  

The concession period was aligned to the capital investment to be made by the terminal operator. The total investment value amounts to R298 million for the terminal. The strategic goal is to offer new and modern cruise terminals that are a gateway to the ports of Durban and Cape Town, to the rest of the country and even to the continent.

Port cruise terminals provide a multi-modal connectivity to the region and the rest of the world, thus contributing to the growth of the tourism industry. This venture is, as we know, part of a wider national plan to upgrade, improve and revitalise our country’s ports.  Over the years, a number of inefficiencies have led to the Port of Durban losing its international ranking. 

Despite the significant challenges Transnet has been facing, there has been some progress and movement, and this infrastructure project is one such example.  To step up upgrading and modernisation, the National Ports Authority launched the KZN Logistics Hub Programme, a strategic programme seeking to expand capacity in the ports of Durban and Richards Bay through the delivery of 33 flagship projects. 

The infrastructure projects in the pipeline being developed under the KZN Logistics Hub programme in the Port of Durban specifically are focused around the five precincts of Island View, Container, Bayhead, Maydon Wharf and the Point and Recreation precinct. The expansion plans aim to increase container capacity nearly four-fold and double automotive capacity. The KZN Logistics Hub programme has an investment tag of approximately R157 billion with a plan to create over 570 000 employment opportunities over the next 15 years. 

Transnet is in the process of finalising a Memorandum of Agreement with the municipality, the province and Ithala Bank for the development of the Durban Bay Waterfront. This will encompass the overhaul and redevelopment of the marina and its transformation into a world-class economic, tourism, water sports and recreation asset. Our country’s state owned enterprises continue to play a vital role in enhancing the economic and social well-being of all South Africans. With the commitment of private sector partners like MSC we will be able to fully realise our aspirations for economic growth, job creation and socio-economic development.

I wish to thank MSC for this important investment, which is a clear demonstration of confidence in our nation and in our economy. As more cruise liners visit this city, more tourists come. As part of their homeport itineraries, passengers visit local attractions, shop and spend, and more money is injected into the local economy. 

As a result, more jobs are created for South Africans and more local businesses supported, especially small businesses. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, the vast majority of cruise passengers are inclined to revisit a destination they initially visited during a cruise. So beyond being an investment in brick and mortar, this terminal is also an investment in the future of the South African tourism industry.

Thank you to all who have contributed to making this terminal a reality and to all those who made this evening possible, especially the wonderful artists who will be providing our entertainment tonight. We are certain that this cruise terminal will live up to the greatness of the man whose name it bears, and that it will be a symbol of economic growth, recovery and hope.

I thank you. // The end.

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