Development of the South African coastal shipping policy: the prospect of maritime cabotage.
Dlamini, Langa Hewitt.
MetadataShow full item record
The Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) provides the official policy position on maritime issues in South Africa since 2017. It covers a variety of maritime matters relating to shipping conduct on the coast and offshore and extends to the utilisation of landside resources. However, this work evaluates policy provisions pertaining only to coastal shipping and in particular to cabotage. Cabotage refers to the rights a coastal state reserves for itself to trade vessels of its choice between ports along its coast. The CMTP states cabotage as the official coastal shipping policy in South Africa for the first time in over a century-and-a-half of coastal shipping. However, the CMTP does not state the manner in which cabotage will apply. In fact, some of its ambitions seem impractical. Through a thorough historical account, the thesis sheds light on why cabotage has never been adopted in South Africa. It also gives the rationale for abandoning in 2017 the laissez-faire position that had existed over many decades. Given that cabotage presents itself in different forms, the thesis provides an overview of the various cabotage forms by reference to a sample of comparable jurisdictions. It then asks the question: what is the prospect of South African cabotage in light of the continental and international cabotage practice scope? The question directs focus to three issues: the meaning of cabotage; the scope of its application; and the comparative measure for its application. The analysis gleans the likely direction for cabotage implementation from the CMTP and other instruments despite anomalies that exist between what the CMTP sets out to achieve and the proposed legal framework for its implementation. The conclusion is that, given the dearth of shipping capacity in South Africa, coastal trade dependence on feeder cargo and imbalanced cargo trades, the country’s only proper option, when cabotage is adopted, is liberal cabotage. It should be implemented without comparing South Africa to other jurisdictions but must be founded on its own merits and that such should show a ready source of cargo.