South Africa is set to invest US $7m in floating caisson that is to be constructed for the Sturrock Dry Dock, one of the biggest dry docks in the Southern Hemisphere in the Port of Cape Town.
The announcement comes following intensive conversations between the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), Wesgro, industry and strategic partners with Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) around discussions for improving the ports infrastructure.
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Sturrock Dry Dock project
According to Wesgro CEO Tim Harris, a caisson, which is a large steel gate structure that acts as a secondary seal and subdivides the dock allows to for simultaneous docking of multiple commercial vessels within the facility, is expected to double the productivity of Sturrock.
“The introduction of a caisson that can now allow for multiple docking of commercial vessels allows for Sturrock Dry Dock to significantly increase ship repairing capacity, which will facilitate job creation. The total value of turnover of provincial ship repairs in 2016 was estimated at around US $158m, revealing the potential for significant economic gain to the province through investment of updating the dock facilities,” said Tim Harris.
The new caisson forms part of a multi-million dollar overhaul of the port’s ship repair facilities over a three-year period that is 2019-2022 under South Africa’s Operation Phakisa Programme, which has identified ship building and repairs as a strategic industry for the port.
South Africa ranks among the world’s top 15 shipping nations, based on the tonnage transported to and from its ports, with 3 of the 8 major commercial ports based in the Western Cape. Further to this, the Province is the production hub of the South African ship building industry and is home to the country’s largest luxury yacht builders, Robertson and Caine and Southern Wind.
In addition to this, it is estimated that around 68% of commercial boat yards are located in the Western Cape. Although the majority of marine manufacturing capacity is located in and around Cape Town, boat yards have also been established in St. Helena Bay, Velddrif, Saldana Bay, Swellendam, George and Knysna.
“The Western Cape’s boat building and repairs industry has the potential for tremendous growth, job creation and skills development and the construction of the new caisson will assist in making our port more productive and efficient. The investment into our port infrastructure to ensure that we are able to take advantage of all opportunities in this sector, is welcome,” commented MEC of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde.