A pre-draft of the South African Shipping Company Bill 2022 has been published by the country’s Department of Transport with the object of establishing the country’s first national carrier.
The rationale is that South Africa is reliant on the performance of others for essential imports and exports. A national shipping company could shield the country from supply chain disruptions, while revenues from shipping would benefit the national economy.
The South African Shipping Company (SASCO) project falls under the government’s plans to reform the maritime sector enshrined in the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy. The policy initiative dates back to 2017, when the government first set out this goal. SASCO will be under the authority of a minister chosen by the president, who would, in turn, appoint a board that then designates a CEO.
Consultations are planned to begin this month with stakeholders from across the country.
Funds to finance SASCO would come from the Industrial Development Fund and would also be voted by Parliament directly. The shipping company could over time provide tanker services, bunkering, container and bulk cargo services, and coastwise shipping.
According to Business Insider South Africa, SASCO would own at least one oil tanker and one chemicals tanker, plus a number of smaller vessels. Under existing legislation, it would enjoy preferred carrier status.