labels: shipping, trade
South Africa proposes shipping venture, aviation hub with India, Brazil news
15 October 2007
Mumbai: South Africa has proposed the setting up of a joint shipping company with India and Brazil and creation of a maritime highway as also an aviation hub linking India, Brazil and South Africa.

"We can create a maritime highway and we are pursuing the issue very vigorously. We can create an aviation hub," South Africa''s head of Asia and Middle East section in the department of foreign affairs Jerry Matjila said ahead of the IBSA summit.

He said shipping corporations in the three countries have submitted a joint proposal to link Mumbai, Cape Town and Sao Paulo, to make the most of the countries'' vast coastline, which put together will spread over nearly 17,000 km.

He said the proposal would be placed before the leaders of the three countries when they meet for the IBSA summit on October 17.

"South Africa is increasing aviation capacity with Latin America. We will soon be flying to Argentina to increase capacity. We hear that one of the Indian airlines (believed to be Jet Airways) will be flying from India to South Africa very soon. There is a need to create such a capacity," Matjila said.

"We begin to therefore see the formation of new entities - South Africa-India or India-Brazil. In the fifth year of IBSA we will begin to see real and concrete programmes begin to emerge."

IBSA is a trilateral, developmental initiative between the three nations to promote south-south cooperation.

"I hope the heads will bless the proposal", Matjila said, adding that one or two points were still to be clarified and the proposal would be concretised during the summit.

The proposal would create a lot of opportunities for the business people in the three countries and it could be broadened by inducting countries like Sri Lanka and others, he said.

On the aviation sector, Matjila said both India and South Africa are yet to take full advantage of the potential, as the private sector capacity was yet to be utilised.

While only South African carriers operate flights to India, there was no reciprocal arrangement from the Indian side, he said, adding that if private operators have capacity, India could allow them. "It is up to each national government to take a decision on the issue", he said.

Several meetings have been planned as part of the IBSA gathering as heads of ministries, business leaders, scientists and academics come together.

A business forum in Sandton will see around 100 business people from India join their Brazilian and South African counterparts to discuss translating IBSA agreements into tangible business programmes.

A seminar will highlight the gas-to-fuel and coal-to-fuel technologies pioneered by South Africa and India and will encourage sharing of such technologies for the benefit of all three partners in IBSA. A parliamentary forum and an academic forum are also scheduled to take place

The main IBSA Summit will be held October 17 where president Mbeki will invite the chairpersons of these groups to meet the heads of state and government at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria. The leaders will also discuss important global issues, including the reform of the United Nations for a fair global system of governance and the stalled World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks.

Talks over direct transport links between Brazil and India are among the highlights of the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) meet taking place in South Africa.

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South Africa proposes shipping venture, aviation hub with India, Brazil