Setback for Mother City cruise terminal
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Cape Town - Transnet has once again delayed the announcement of the successful bidder for Cape Town’s dedicated cruise terminal, this time because of “leadership changes”.
A successful bidder was expected to be confirmed by the end of last month, but the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has released a statement saying the contract will only be announced next month.
“We understand the importance of this project for the region and assure you of our commitment to moving forward with the development as soon as possible.”
This after Transnet announced in October last year that the contract would have to be re-advertised, just a month before the successful bidder was expected to be announced in November.
TNPA said then that there were no successful bidders in the extensive and open procurement process. However, due to the “strategic importance of the facility”, the TNPA announced that it would re-issue the request for proposals. The outcome of this process was set down for last month.
Ian Neilson, as acting mayor of the City of Cape Town, said: “It is very difficult to understand why the award of the tender could in any way be affected by a leadership change.” He said an organisation the size of Transnet should be immune to leadership changes, especially when dealing with a project as important as the cruise terminal.
“Does that mean that Transnet’s programmes are subject to the whims of each manager, rather than being driven by an objective approach to management? Or worse, is the successful bidder subject to the their relationship with the particular management of the moment?”
Neilson said the city was “appalled” by the latest delays and would call on Transnet to immediately finalise the appointment of a bidder for a project that has been “years in the making”.
“We cannot afford any further delay.”
DA MP James Vos said he would submit parliamentary questions about the delays in the project. “Government must ensure that this project gets back on track. It is time that Cape Town and South Africa benefited from this infrastructure, crucial to the development of the region.”
Vos said the economic benefits of a dedicated terminal arose from the spending by cruise passengers and crew, the shoreside staff by the cruise liners for their headquarters, marketing and tour operations, the expenditure on goods and services needed for cruise operations, as well as the spending on port services and maintenance.
“The NDP has already earmarked tourism as the only sustainable job-creating sector in the economy. Therefore, any measures to increase tourism at both regional and national level must be seriously considered.”
Cape Town has been waiting several years for a dedicated cruise liner terminal to accommodate the growing number of luxury liners docking at the port.
Currently larger ships, such as the Queen Mary 2 that visited Cape Town en route to Southampton last month, have to dock at the outer E berth.
The V&A Waterfront, as one of the bidders in 2013, said then that a dedicated terminal would boost its contribution to the gross domestic product by 51 percent.
Vos said one job was created with every 12 tourists who visited, and Cape Town was poised to become a “tourism hot spot”.
Dedicated cruise liner infrastructure would create a platform for further port facilities, which would boost maritime trade and cruise tourism.
“Government needs to awaken to this fact and take advantage of it,” said Vos.