2020 Vision | Kaashifah Beukes
20 Questions for Maritime Leaders in Africa
Name and Surname: Kaashifah Beukes
Organisation: Saldanha Bay IDZ Licencing Company SOC Ltd (SBIDZ-LC)
Current Position: Chief Executive Officer
1. What qualifications do you have and from which institutions?
Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) from UCT; Master’s in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business at UCT.
2. How long have you been working in the maritime industry?
My work for the past 10 years has been to understand the potential and the challenges of the industry, and in so doing design, develop and operate the SBIDZ to the best of its potential to meet the needs of the maritime industry and the country.
3. Are you a member of any professional associations? (Please list them if applicable)
Women in Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) South Africa
4. How many years are you from retirement?
I hope lots! I’m only turning 40 in June this year!
5. How would you describe your leadership style?
Authentic, caring, and inclusive. I have a clear vision of what I want the SBIDZ to be, but I’m not immune to listening to others on how to get there so long as it doesn’t compromise our values and our purpose.
6. What motivates/drives you in your daily work life?
I know that we have great potential within us to effect change that matters to people. I want the SBIDZ to be something that adds to our lives in a positive manner: be it stable employment people may not have had access to before, be it in new skills development, be it working with others who are different from you, and solving problems as a team that is highly regarded.
7. What skill (business or pleasure) would you still like to master?
8. Have you spent any time at sea during your career?
9. What is your outlook for the maritime sector in 2020?
Adjusting to the new fuel regulations was going to show up pockets of challenges everywhere, but now with the COVID-19 outbreak, it's placing further strain on the capacity of our maritime ecosystems to deal with complex operational matters efficiently.
10. What is your outlook for your company/organisation in 2020?
2020 is going to be (another) pioneering year for us at SBIDZ as construction begins on the first factories and warehouses of our tenants. From now on, the landscape of Saldanha will forever be changed and we are thankful for the many people and organisations we have worked with to get us to this point.
We are energised with this milestone, as well as the rolling out of pilot processes between SARS and TNPA on our Customs Controlled Area (CCA) (Freeport) tax regime since our designation as a CCA Operator last year. The regime will save short- and long-term tenants time and money and spur growth in the industry.
Lastly, this year we also start on our Innovation Campus project, which will be a campus to drive sustainable innovation, research and development, support entrepreneurs through incubation and acceleration programmes, and help develop the next generation of the workforce needed to sustain the maritime and oil and gas sectors for the future.
11. What geographical markets is your company/organisation currently active in?
Our tenants operate in Africa and beyond, and so we focus on providing facilities, services and a business environment that enables their growth and participation in those markets from their base in our zone. So we have, and will continue to assess changing dynamics in the industry, in regions to see how small and large, domestic and international businesses are supported. Currently, we do not operate outside of the zone in Saldanha, but we are always open to studying and learning from other markets.
12. What are the current challenges facing the maritime industry?
I’d like to zone in on challenges faced in South Africa: Foremost to my mind, as Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of International Maritime Organization said in a recent lecture, “shipping is "out of sight and out of mind"”. Shipping is “maritime traffic” in action. It’s at the core of the maritime industry.
But how many in South Africa have a deep experience and knowledge of it? A shipping vessel, a ferry, a tugboat or a fishing vessel, are not on most South Africans' daily radar – so how does one promote it to young people? How does one legislate equitably? How does one plan and operate our ports, cities, rail, roads – and airports – to enable its growth? How does one manage risks and complexities, and seize opportunities, you didn’t know you didn’t know?
In South Africa, the most fundamental challenge is of limited, shared understanding and experience of the maritime industry itself.
13. How should we be addressing these challenges during 2020?
The Department of Transport has published a draft implementation plan for the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) for comment and engagement. This decade term plan aims to establish the fundamental pillars on which to base the implementation of the CMTP, culminating in South Africa becoming an International Maritime Centre by 2030.
We all need to be active voices and participants (no slacktivism!) so that the plan and its activities reflects a robust and mindful view on the many niche aspects of the industry. We cannot hold DOT solely accountable for growing, enabling and transforming the industry.
14. How is your company/organisation embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and disruptive technologies?
Head on. Last year we completed a feasibility study for an Innovation Campus in the zone because we recognised the increasing role that technology will play in shaping the industry – up and down the value chain. Granted, the campus needs to start incrementally by first building a virtual network between industry, academia, community and government, but ultimately we see it as a place where the problems of modern day shipping, manufacturing and engineering will be solved by the many institutes, entrepreneurs and students located on the campus.
Internally, as we operationalise the zone, we are looking at technologies that will enable us to manage the property and the needs of our tenants efficiently and reliably.
15. What changes do you anticipate in the maritime industry over the next two decades?
I truly hope that we get closer to cracking gender equality and pay parity.
16. How relevant and effective do you think strategies such as Operation Phakisa, AIMS 50 and the African Maritime Decade are to help progress the continent’s Blue Economies (explain your answer)?
They are highly effective at establishing a vision on the continent. Regrettably however, they don’t seem to translate into sustained action. This could be due to the complexity of the challenge in addressing all the intricacies of cultivating the blue economy across over 50 very different countries.
17. How can African countries collaborate to collectively benefit from the Blue Economy?
To collaborate means to trust and want to look for win-win solutions. You have to have an intention for success with those you are collaborating with – not just your own success. This kind of leadership must also be found throughout decision-making and action platforms: it’s not only “leaders” who need to have this mind-set, its everyone who is part of the system.
18. If you could have a superhero power, what would it be?
Conveying ideas with the least amount of words possible.
19. What would you like your legacy in the maritime industry to be?
That the SBIDZ was, and continues to be, a trustworthy partner to everyone in the industry.
20. Please nominate another maritime leader (from the African continent) that you would like us to include in our 2020 Vision series.
Jemilat Mahamah, President of WISTA Ghana