MOSSEL BAY, SOUTH AFRICA– The Transnet National Ports Authority, a unit of road rail and pipeline State-owned company Transnet, has announced a multi-million rand transformation for the Port of Mossel Bay in Western Cape Province, about 380 kilometres east f Cape Town.

The new port at Mossel Bay, a scenic seaside city on the famed scenic Garden Route of the Southern Cape area, will include a waterfront, a dock for cruise line passengers to disembark and various other business opportunities.

Transnet National Ports, the Transnet division responsible for managing and governing seven of South Africa’s major seaports, says the facelift will be a key catalyst for economic growth in the Garden Route.

“The Port of Mossel Bay is the smallest along our coastline but big plans are in store for it in the next five years. Transnet wants to bring it in line with other ports around the country,” says Shulami Qalinge, Transnet National Ports Authority Chief Executive Officer.

One of the major programmes that we are looking at is the development of the waterfront at the port of Mossel Bay. It’s meant to grow the economy, its meant to grow the businesses at the port itself and it’s meant to create job opportunities for the community.

The plans have been welcomed by the people here. Community Leader Bongani Swartbooi says: It’s a new development everyone has been waiting for, we are grateful. Transnet also engaged the community, requested inputs for this development.

The Mossel Bay Business Chamber executive for Business and Projects, Johan Claassen, said the move would mean local businesses would be able to carry out exports, imports, tourism and get get cruise ships to dock to help create jobs.

However, businesses now leasing port property fear they’ll be side-lined. Seavuna Fishing Company’s Raymond Williams says: It could be that our factory has to move out at some stage which is a big concern for us. Seavuna has been in the harbour for the last 30 years and provides work for hundreds of people.

Transnet say the port’s modification is all part of their plans for radical economic transformation in the region.