SAMIC 2012 set out to augment the collaborative effort of government, industry, academia, research community, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations and SAMSA inspired by a common purpose, partnership and will to build a vibrant maritime industry.

After several plenary and breakaway sessions, Day Three (3) was a set aside for a symposium. The aim of the symposium was to deliberate on topics that emerged as encompassing themes that captured and summarized critical issues that could lay a foundation for the way-forward. It was opened by SAMSA Chief Executive Officer, and immediately followed by a panel discussion on the need for National Tonnage, the state of South Africa’s Ship Registry and a Case Study on establishing a National Shipping Line.

Subsequent discussions covered issues related to creating Coastal Shipping and Cabotage systems with the specific focus on Coastal Shipping in Africa, looking at both prospects and challenges. It looked at a case study on the Regional Sea Link Project and another on Cabotage in the Nigerian Regime.

The last panel focused on ship financing, incentives and investment with specific focus on shipping financing in Africa, and dealt with a case study for the Regional Maritime Bank and International Shipping Financing.

The second session of the symposium consisted of a workshop on ‘Where to for South Africa.’ This was done through facilitated discussions consisting of four group each discussing a selected topic and later presenting to the symposium participants. The aim was to find implementable solutions, and identifying and packaging pilot projects for South Africa over the short medium and long term to create the best way-forward. The discussion were summarised as follows:
Community Public Private Partnerships’ focus was on how to generate national maritime awareness and grow the South African economy. The team identified several issues that can be translated into deliverable projects and how these could be institutionalized through the creation of frameworks from which they could be driven since there will be a need for a number of government departments and agencies to be involved.

The second team discussed Cabotage which focused on coastal shipping and how indigenous ownership can begin from 80% and subsequently increased to 100% within a given timeframe. Discussions highlighted the critical role the government could play through legislations, funding and capacity building.

The third team’s topic was about ships and how to develop an efficient ship registration system. The discussions focused on the role the different government entities could play in creating an environment that will ensure availability of cargo and facilitating interactions with relevant stakeholders.

The fourth team discussed Pan-African Partnerships which was about issues that could bring coordination and cohesiveness through projects that could find common expression across and have an impact on the continent as a whole. These could be institutionalised by formation of centres or bodies to drive the initiatives.

The outcomes of these discussions are to set a stage for various initiatives by government and public sector to advance the maritime agenda that will have a direct impact not only in South Africa, but on the entire continent.