Western Cape’s boat-building industry is worth R1.2 billion, over 2500 jobs

Alan Winde

Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism

Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, this week conducted a site visit of boat-building factories in the Western Cape including Southern Spars in Montague Gardens, Matrix Yachts in Killarney Gardens and Nautic Africa at the Cape Town Harbour.

Minister Winde said: “The local industry is a largely export-based space, and the province’s African footprint is expanding. Sixty-one percent of commercial boat builders in South Africa are based in the Western Cape.

“Some of South Africa’s biggest boat-building yards are located in this province. While the industry has been hard hit by the economic downturn, industry bodies are optimistic that the local sector is on track to achieve 10% growth by 2015, a goal which was set in 2008.”

The province has earned an international reputation of building the finest luxury vessels. One of the region’s niche advantages is its manufacturing of custom built catamarans and catamarans over 60ft.

“We can leverage on the province’s standing as a world-class catamaran manufacturer, with the potential of the sector becoming a major job driver.

“The United States of America is the province’s main trading partner for recreational boats. However, in the past few years, we have worked hard to expand our African footprint, and we now export to Botswana, Malawi, Nigeria and Ghana. Some of the other countries we are exporting to include Turkey, Spain, China, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Dubai.”

During today’s visit Minister Winde spoke to businesses about opportunities in the sector and problems hampering growth.

In one instance, he committed to helping a business to clear red tape so that it can land a R100 million deal. Said Winde: “In 2011, we established the Rep Tape Unit specifically to address concerns that hinder economic growth. We have seen successes thus far and trust that this industry will use this service, so that we help them to address any blockages that arise.

The Western Cape Government also shows its support by being an active member of the Marine Industry Association of South Africa. We help with skills forums and assist with bottle-necks the industry encounters that will prevent them from growing the economy.

“Our department wants to foster an environment conducive to creating jobs and that is an area where this sector can play a key role. It’s great to see the sector selling our products around the world. We will do everything that we can to help them increase their export figures even further.”

One of the companies during yesterday’s site visit made R150 million per year. Another was bucking the global trend and exporting to China.

Minister Winde said these facts were testament to the importance of the sector.

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