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South Africa: Government proposes a national carrier

4 November 2022
– 2 Minute Read


In 2017, South Africa’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy envisaged the establishment of a national carrier in support of its vision to transform and grow the local maritime transport sector.

This proposal is now one step closer to being realised with the Department of Transport’s invitation to interested stakeholders to participate in consultations on a first Draft South African Shipping Company Bill during November 2022. Further details, including deadlines for written submissions and registration for participation in virtual stakeholder events, are available from the South African Government’s website here.

The Draft Bill, available from the Department of Transport’s website here, provides for the establishment of the South African Shipping Company (SASCO) as a corporate entity, with the State as sole shareholder and the potential to engage in a wide range of commercial shipping activities and services. As might be expected, these include owning and managing a strategic fleet of locally registered vessels; carrying inbound and outbound cargoes as preferred national carrier; and training of seafarers. The Draft Bill also provides for SASCO’s engagement in a variety of shipping services, including those relating to cargo handling, containers, tankers, bunkering and coastal shipping.

At this early stage in the process, it remains to be seen what final form the Draft Bill will take after consultation.

The Draft Bill is one of several recent regulatory and legislative developments in South African shipping, which include:

  • Cabinet’s approval of the submission of the Merchant Shipping Bill of 2022 to Parliament for further processing. This was reported in the Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 19 October 2022, available from the South African Government website here.
  • Public comment sought on proposed amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act Regulations relating to safety of navigation, dangerous goods, crew accommodation and fishing vessels. Details are available in Marine Information Notice 14-22, available from the South African Maritime Safety Authority’s website here.
  • Parliament’s consideration of amendments to the Marine Pollution (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act, as mentioned in our newsflash of 3 October 2022 here.
  • The National Assembly’s passing of the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill, as detailed in the Minister of Transport’s speech on 3 October 2022, available from the South African Government website here.