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September 4 - (from left) Dormac MD Chris Sparg, Father Herman Giraldo, minister Rob Davies, Southey Holdings CEO Barry Wickins, and Southey Holdings board member Gugu Motlanthe. Photo: Supplied (dti)

New Durban floating dock launched

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has launched a more than R290 million composite floating dock at the Dormac ship-repair facility in the Port of Durban, the trade and industry department (dti) said on Sunday.

The project would created more than 300 jobs, the dti said in a statement.

Speaking at the launch, Davies said the ship and boat manufacturing industry in South Africa had a great opportunity to supply and service sub-Saharan Africa with working vessels as required by state agencies for various activities, such as maritime patrol vessels to combat piracy.

About 12,000 ships called at South Africa’s ports each year, while over 30,000 sailed along the South African coastline annually.

“The ship repair industry is estimated at above R1 billion in Durban in normal trading conditions. This is with all docks well maintained and working, as well as all other challenges addressed. Dormac 1 will go a long way towards meeting the demand for ship repair in South Africa’s busiest harbour,” Davies said.

South Africa’s maritime economy could generate an estimated GDP contribution of R129 billion to R177 billion by 2033 and create 600,000 jobs.

“South Africa is ideally positioned to serve the East-West cargo traffic and the booming African offshore oil and gas industry through marine manufacturing, which includes ship and rig repair, refurbishment, and boat building. Despite this competitive advantage, we currently capture only one percent of the global market of ship repair and refurbishment,” he said.

The marine transport work stream had developed 18 initiatives across three categories – infrastructure and operations, skills, and capacity building to accelerate sector growth. The Dormac 1 had received support from the dti through its 12i Income Tax Incentive to the value of more than R160 million.

Dormac managing director Chris Sparg said the dti’s support had made it possible for his company to undertake this venture.

“The dti recognised the enormous value and potential impact on job creation, skills development, and energy saving efficiency programmes, and for that we are most grateful.”

A typical dry-docking could easily entail around 30,000 hours of labour, providing a substantial employment stimulus and skills generation.

“We have seen in Singapore for example that shipyards are massive contributors to employment, skills development, and to the country’s GDP. The strong support which the South African government has provided through the provision of incentives to encourage investments of this nature and to stimulate employment and economic growth in the country is certainly moving the economy towards full scale industrialisation,” Sparg said.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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