An Antarctic Centre which will serve as a single point of contact for all Antarctica-related business enquiries will be set up at the Port of Cape Town.
The centre will be established by the Department of Environmental Affairs, which, in conjunction with Transnet National Ports Authority at the Port of Cape Town, launched Antarctic Season last week.
Antarctic Season marks the departure of the SA Agulhas II for its annual Antarctic relief voyage and the start of the annual South African-Norwegian seminar and exhibition, which ends tomorrow, Friday December 7.
The Antarctic Season occurs between November and March annually.
In South Africa, the season starts with the departure of SA Agulhas II during the first week of December.
Since 2016, the department has held seminars with the Norwegians Polar Institute over two days during this period. This year the programme has been extended over five days, signalling the strategic importance of South Africa as a gateway to the Antarctic.
Speaking at the launch of Antarctic Season, the director general of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Nosipho Ngcaba, explained the features and benefits of the Antarctic Centre.
“The centre will accommodate the Antarctic Logistics Network, which will be a virtual network of members that provide advice, assistance and referrals as businesses that understand polar conditions.
“This will provide a single point of contact for all Antarctica related business enquiries, offering clients effortless connections to private businesses, educational institutions, research bodies and government agencies,” she said.
Port manager Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana said the port welcomed the opportunity to house the new Antarctic Centre, as it fits into the mandate of Operation Phakisa.
Launched in 2014, the operation aims to unlock the economic potential of the country’s oceans in order to create economic growth and job opportunities.
“The Port of Cape Town is pleased to work with the department of Environmental Affairs in hosting the launch of Antarctic Season and the SA-Norwegian seminar, particularly because the exhibition element of the event is open to the public. Transnet National Ports Authority is committed to bringing the community closer to the port and it is through educational exhibitions like this, that young South Africans will be exposed to the vast array of maritime careers on offer.”