For more than 30 years, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has not had a registered vessel. The M/V Cape Orchid, a bulk carrier, is its first vessel registered since 1985.
While South African imports $102 billion and exports $97 billion each year, the Cape Orchid is the country’s first registered vessel and is currently transporting iron ore from Saldanha Bay to China.
The 172,600-dwt bulker is owned by Vuka Marine, which is a joint venture between South Africa’s Via Maritime Holdings and Japan-based K-Line. South Africa will also soon register the Cape Enterprise, a 185,900 dwt vessel, which is also owned by K-Line during next few weeks.
The SAMSA and the South African Department of Transport hope that Vuka Marine’s registration will l encourage other vessel operators join the nation’s flag registry. More than 12,000 foreign flagged ships call South Africa each year, which is the gateway for African trade.
South Africans own about 19 vessels including three petroleum tankers, which are all registered in foreign countries. The country’s key ports are Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, and Saldanha Bay. Its prime container port is Durban, which handled about 2,712,975 boxes last year.