The Durban University of Technology, in close collaboration with the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau, has won the right to host the 2015 and 23rd International Maritime Lecturers’ Association (IMLA) Conference.

Leon Govender, from the Department of Maritime Studies at the Durban University of Technology, presented the winning bid proposal to the IMLA Congress in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, in October 2013. “The 2015 IMLA Congress will take place over the period of 29 June – 3 July, in Durban’s central and main beachfront area. The theme of this congress will be “Challenges facing emerging maritime education and training institutions – the need for collaboration,” Mr Govender said. Furthermore, he said: “The gathering will leave a valuable legacy, as it will assist our people in the region attain important insights into the development of and challenges facing the field of maritime studies. This region is fortunate to have a Department of Maritime Studies and an eThekwini Maritime Cluster and they will be able to contribute to the planning and organisation of this congress”.

James Seymour, chief executive officer of the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau, said: “We are elated by this news. Durban and the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal are one of the most significant maritime regions in the world. The port of Durban is the most active multi-purpose harbour in the southern hemisphere. It also has the second busiest container terminal in the area to the south of the equator. Durban also has the largest concentration of maritime services in the southern hemisphere. This port accounts for 20 per cent of the City of Durban’s GDP and contributes a further 20 per cent indirectly.

“Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal’s second port, is one of the most significant bulk cargo ports in the world. These facilities could be used as exciting elements of technical tours for the 2015 IMLA Congress,” he said.

“We expect that this conference will attract more than 100 foreign delegates from all over the world and the expected economic impact of the spend of these delegates will be well in excess of R3-million for the economy of Durban and the province.”

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