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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

African boat-building market spells good news for Cape Town

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The visit to Robertson and Caine – who recently celebrated its 30th year in business – coincided with the release of the ‘Boat Building Global Market Report 2021: COVID 19 Impact And Recovery To 2030’ which found that Africa is forecast to be the second fastest-growing boat-building region in the world over the next four years.

Published by The Business Research Company, the report says that the Compound Annual Growth Rate of the continental market will grow by 8,6%, second only to the Middle East region’s 9,4%.

The forecast spells good news for the Western Cape, which is the largest marine manufacturing centre within South Africa, generating over R2,3 billion in 2018 in export revenue, and housing nearly half of the country’s boat-builders. Cape Town’s boat-building market, in particular, has seen consistent growth in recent years, with almost 12 000 jobs created and exports up by approximately 20,5% year-on-year since 2014. The global report’s findings come weeks after the launch of BlueCape, the City of Cape Town-funded Special Business Partner in the industry.

Cape Town already boasts a spot as one of the top catamaran-producing cities in the world with companies such as Robertson and Caine being the third-largest builder in the world of these boats. It also manufactures the most power catamarans globally.

The company plans to build up to 160 catamarans this year (with projections of 220 catamarans by 2023). With each vessel costing between R7 million and R21 million, boat-building companies such as Robertson and Caine – which has more than 1 800 permanent employees – make clear the input and value of the sector to Cape Town’s economic growth.

“We have a strong focus on skills development as most of the boats are hand-built. We have a rotational practical learning programme for students, many of whom go on to graduate and become permanent employees,” said the company’s Technical and Industrialisation Director, Donovan Thomas.

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