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The clear message coming from the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) was of the urgent need to decarbonise the sector. This energy transition will have a far-reaching impact. Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone’s (SBIDZ) original market focus as a service hub for offshore exploration and production (E&P) vessels, such as oil rigs, must change. However, even with investments moving from new offshore oil wells into gas, offshore wind, and onshore renewable energy alternatives, offshore hydrocarbons will continue to play a role during a just transition. It still provides a value chain of needs and a lifecycle orientation, including decommissioning, recycling, and retrofitting vessels and equipment in that space.

The SBIDZ can be a holistic base for “transition” technologies in the energy and maritime industries and the traditional markets of oil and gas, maritime engineering, logistics and services for a long time, any which way one cuts it. We have the deepest – undeveloped – port in the Southern Hemisphere, and it’s already focused on bulk carriers and has a Freeport status.


Maritime shipping accounts for 3% of all global emissions, but 90% of world trade is moved by sea. To put this in perspective, cargo shipping creates one billion tonnes of climate pollution each year – the equivalent of what an industrialised country like Germany produces annually.

During COP26, 22 industry leaders and politicians signed the Clydebank Declaration, committing to decarbonising the maritime industry by developing six green shipping corridors – zero-emission routes – between two or more ports by 2050. Between 60 000 to 80 000 ships are currently plying international shipping lanes, and current plans see just 200 green vessels in operation by 2030.

Quarterly Newsletter December 2021 article image of the cop26 logo

The proposed green corridors mean the ships that transport goods worldwide would travel without using hydrocarbon fuels and instead would use fuels derived from green hydrogen – hydrogen generated by renewable energy – renewable electricity or other sustainable options.

South Africa is not a signatory, but the United States and Germany are, and they are two of our largest export markets. Add to this, nine big-name brands, including Amazon, IKEA, Michelin, Unilever and Patagonia, announced that by 2040, they plan to shift 100% of their ocean freight to vessels powered by zero-carbon.


  • The First Movers Coalition has set commitments for using zero-emission fuels by 2030.

  • Shipping carriers are to set a target of at least 5% of their deep-sea shipping to be powered by zero-emission fuels by 2030, enabled by ships capable of using zero-emission fuels.

  • Cargo owners should target shipping at least 10% of their goods on vessels using zero-emission fuels by 2030 and 100% by 2040.

First, we need to ask several questions. What role can the SBIDZ play in supplying, servicing, and maintaining the new fleets? For the approximately 80 000 heavy ocean-going cargo vessels that spend months at sea transporting global goods, there is no real alternative to fossil fuels, at least not yet. The most promising technology is either hydrogen or synthetic fuels, such as methanol or ammonia, created using green hydrogen.

Second, is this where the future of work in the sector is heading, and how can SBIDZ prepare?


Technology and big data are increasingly used to measure environmental performance, for example, in the shipping industry, such as a vessel’s daily emissions. Artificial intelligence (AI) will harness accurate and desegregated emission calculations – data that is invaluable to the financial sector. Digitalisation makes it possible to improve energy efficiency and optimise logistics resources.

The Saldanha Bay Innovation Campus aims to bridge the technologies the future needs in shipping and general maritime-focused engineering and manufacturing.

The zone itself is uniquely positioned in the Port of Saldanha as a Freeport, making it very attractive for “smart” manufacturers and suppliers to be in the zone.

No doubt, the COP26 decisions and discussions will impact the maritime sector. Even without the after-effects of the pandemic, it will not be business as usual, but the transition to decarbonise presents significant business opportunities. Taking those opportunities will require laying the foundations today for the necessary infrastructure, identifying the expertise, training and skills development required, and encouraging investors who are committed to zero carbon goals.

Quarterly Newsletter December 2021 burnout why cop26 is important article header image


Why COP26 was important

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the planet would likely reach the 1.5oC limit in early 2030, making climate change a real threat to the survival of many. And while the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) meeting in Glasgow seemed to acknowledge that, the actual implementation of net-zero emissions remains a conflicted and complicated process…



Two Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (SBIDZ) executive members, Adinda Preller and Vanessa Davidson, represented the company at Africa Oil Week and Adipec. Below are some of their impressions and observations.

Africa Oil Week 2021, held in Dubai due to pandemic restrictions, provided an excellent platform for people from across…


Quarterly Newsletter December 2021 FSIDZ goes to africa oil week article header image showing wind turbine green energy
Quarterly Newsletter December 2021 dronetec innovation article showing a grey drone flying on a green background


The Innovation Campus of the Saldanha Bay
Industrial Development Zone  (SBIDZ) launched a DroneTech Innovation Challenge to showcase inventive applications of drone technologies across industries.

Top of the class in the Scale-Up category was



with Abigail Murray

A few minutes before midnight, Abigail is awake. The house is quiet. She reaches for her mobile, switches off the alarm and gets up. In the kitchen, she puts on the kettle, opens her laptop bag and sets up her computer, arranging her notebooks on the side. Then, with a cup of tea in hand, she starts studying. Tonight, she has an assignment to complete…


Quarterly Newsletter December 2021 nightshift with abbigail murray article header image showing abbigail murray in a boardroom
Quarterly Newsletter December 2021 Onsebaai article header showing Freeport Saldanha's first collabaration newspaper for Saldanha Bay


in the news

This year we put together our first newspaper – OnseBaai – a supplement that went out with the Weslander. OnseBaai is part of our ongoing conversation with the community, and we welcome your comments. The second edition will be out in the new year…


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Quarterly newsletter | Issue 6, December 2021

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Freeport Saldanha · 24 Main Road · Saldanha Bay, Cape Town 7395 · South Africa
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