South Africa intends to create a national shipping company as part of its Comprehensive Shipping Policy

Initiative responds to the government's fear of not being able to protect the country from supply chain disruptions.

The South African Department of Transport has published the first draft of the South African Shipping Company Bill 2022, which provides for the creation of the first national shipping company, according to porttechnology.

The South African Shipping Company (SASCO) is following the government's goal of bolstering its shipping sector amid supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans to establish a state-owned national carrier have been on the cards in South Africa since 2017. Under the bill, all vessels will be South African-flagged and will operate alongside logistics services and infrastructure.

SASCO will also engage in tanker services, bunkering services, container services, bulk cargo services, and coastal shipping services, in addition to traditional export and import transportation.

The funds will be provided within the framework of an Industrial Development Fund (IDC) and through the government itself. The specific details of the financing have not yet been defined.

The Department for Transport said stakeholder meetings will begin this month to explore interest and engagement with the shipping company.

Work at container terminals across South Africa came to a standstill last month as ocean liners skip calls at the country's ports.

The congestion is the result of the strike by the United National Transport Union (UNTU) and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in a walkout over a pay dispute that dragged on for months.

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