Sir William Hoy, who was general manager of the South African Railways and Harbours in the early 1900’s, loved Hermanus for its natural beauty and quiet, peaceful character. He was in a position to influence the future of the town and it was due to his intervention that the railway line destined to reach Hermanus from Cape Town, was stopped at Bot River. This effectively blocked any big industrial investment here and consequently only small, secondary industries have emerged in Hermanus over the century. Road transport is used for distribution and supplies. The two industrial areas accommodate most common secondary industries, from motor vehicle services to regional distribution centres and general suppliers.
Aqua-farming is perhaps the most successful industry Hermanus can claim to have, with several abalone “farms” in the industrial area around the New Harbour.
The industrial area still has room for growth and there are many existing properties available for rent.
The South African National Space Agency (SANSA), formerly known as the Magnetic Observatory, is located between the industrial area and Westcliff on a large tract of undeveloped Fynbos. This magnetic observatory could be established here largely because of the lack of railways and the geological make-up of the surrounding mountains. This important scientific facility is now connected to the international space study fraternity.