Photo: Maritime Freight in Africa


Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship for Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency-2020

Spotlight on... Studying Maritime Freight in Africa

We interviewed Abisai Konstantinus, researcher, seafarer and maritime enthusiast from Namibia, who has just been awarded the 2020 Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship for Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency

  • Congratulations on receiving the Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship! Why do you think you were awarded the 2020 scholarship?
  • Thank you. I think I made the selection because firstly due to the innovative and transformational approach adopted in my proposal, and secondly because the proposal fell in line with the values of Dr Lee Schipper. Notably, maritime transport is a sustainable mode of transport that can facilitate the interconnectivity of the SADC region without the need for high infrastructure investments. Developing it can lead to a balanced share of freight transport, decreased unit cost of transport, and decreased maintenance of vital links within the transport chain which the SADC region is currently in desperate need of.
  • Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
  • I am a maritime enthusiast who dreams of contributing in the development of the African maritime transport landscape. To realise this dream, I have founded a research centre in Namibia, with a focus on transport and public health research. I am a seafarer by training and have sailed as Chief Officer on sea going ships. I also hold an MSc in Shipping Management and Logistics from the World Maritime University (Sweden), MPhil in Shipping Law from the University of Cape Town and a PhD in Transport Engineering from the University of Cape Town.
  • What does the scholarship mean for you personally, and how will you use it?

  • The scholarship means a lot to me. Maritime research does not get much research support in Africa so this grant will enable a much need investigation in this field. Furthermore, it will enable a contribution of knowledge in this field on which future studies can build.

  • In this study, an in-depth case study approach will be employed to investigate the operation of a three major coastal shipping lines in SADC. This is considered necessary to discover and understand the real-life phenomenon of successfully operating a coastal shipping service under the current conditions. The study results can contribute to the identification of strategies to overcome barriers in regional maritime transport to make it a viable alternative to road transport in the region. Importantly, the study can reveal gaps that must be addressed to develop maritime transport in the SADC region by presenting the predicted appropriateness and credibility of different policies, and elements more likely to generate positive behavioural change in ship-owners and operators.
  • The grant will be used for this research, to obtain the much needed tools and for publication purposes. It is my hope to produce at least publications from this grant. I am grateful to the Lee Schipper Foundation and to VREF for this favour.
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