South Africa government agency focuses on boat builders

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Robertson & Caine’s Leopard 58 sailing catamaran

Robertson & Caine’s Leopard 58 sailing catamaran

Boatbuilders in the Cape Town region in South Africa sell nearly $70.4 million (R1 billion) worth of locally produced boats into the export market each year, according to a story in Cape Town Etc. Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato told the paper that the industry is a “key contributor” to the regional economy.

“It plays a significant role in job creation and skills development for our communities,” Plato said. “I am pleased to see my Mayoral Committee Member and his management team focusing on this sector, which will attract even more investment in the enabling business environment we have created in this city.”

According to the South African Boat Builders Export Council, most of the country’s boat building happens in the Western Cape, creating employment for more than 3,000 people. About 90 percent of the boats built in South Africa are exported. South Africa is the world’s second-largest producer of catamarans behind France.

The brands range from Robertson & Caine, which builds catamarans for The Moorings and Sunsail charter fleets, to Southern Wind Shipyard, which builds large sailing monohulls and sailing superyachts for the European market.

James Vos, the Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, said that Cape Town builders are popular with non-South African clients because they offer customization possibilities for the boats they build.

The paper reported that five South African boat builders attended the Miami International Boat Show last month to showcase their products. The show hosted a roundtable discussion on business opportunities in Cape Town and included representatives from South African agencies in energy efficiency, clothing and textile.

Vos says there will be further discussions held in Cape Town. “We look forward to hosting the business delegation next month and welcoming mutually beneficial business partnerships,” he told the paper.

The paper reported that South Africa’s “ocean economy,” which crosses different sectors, has seen the growth of 7,000 jobs since 2014. The sector has secured $2.1 million (R30 million) worth of investments in marine manufacturing, aquaculture, and the oil and gas sector.

The government may invest $27 million (R3.8 billion) in the oceans economy, with the private sector contributing another $4.5 billion (R65 billion) over the next five years.