Love for Maritime Studies the Driving Force for Master’s Graduate
College of Law and Management Studies Student Support Service Administrative Officer Ms Nomathemba Makhathini’s love for maritime studies helped her weather all storms and get her master’s degree.
Well informed with an undergraduate qualification in Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Supply Chain and an honours degree in supply chain management, Makhathini was aware that commodities arrive from all over the world via shipment but curiosity about the entire process is what motivated her to pursue a master’s degree.
‘In 2016 there was an article on offshores by a UKZN professor and that led to me reading up on processes and regulations entailing shipping and container transportation. I wanted to be involved so I registered for a Master of Commerce in Maritime Studies degree and the rest is history,’ she said
Her research, supervised by Dr Sanele Gumede, was titled: Assessing the Media Performance on Container Terminal Turnaround Time: Lesson for the Port of Durban which assessed how the facility conforms with media perspectives on similar ‘economically-related ports’ as well as leading global ports in terms of productivity.
‘The findings revealed that container terminals are moving towards the use of smart solutions that could help optimise turnaround time, propagate performance, and decrease shipping costs - all without requiring substantial infrastructure and equipment expenditures,’ said Makhathini.
‘It was further determined that performance at a container terminal cannot be judged only on the basis of a single value or measure. The study concluded that there is still a long way to go before South Africa’s largest freight gateway is completely operational on an international turnaround time standard.’
Her academic journey was not without its challenges - she had to suspend her studies for two years due to work pressures. ‘I had to take on extra duties due to a work colleague leaving. That stressed me out but as soon as I adjusted, I continued working on my research and dissertation
‘I am the first child in the family to get a master’s degree so everyone is excited and proud. My mother said her wish now is for me to get a PhD and wear the red gown.’
Words: Thandiwe Jumo
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan