Plain sail­ing for har­bour boat re­pair project

De­ci­sion to in­vest in PE fa­cil­ity pays off with in­come tripled and jobs cre­ated

The Herald (South Africa) - - Your Business - Odette Parfitt parfitto@ti­soblack­star.co.za

A R200m project to es­tab­lish ves­sel re­pair fa­cil­i­ties in the Port of Port El­iz­a­beth is fi­nally start­ing to show a re­turn on in­vest­ment a year af­ter its com­ple­tion.

Work on the new fa­cil­i­ties, which were de­vel­oped with the aim of even­tu­ally estab­lish­ing the port as a thriv­ing ves­sel main­te­nance and ma­rine engi­neer­ing hub, be­gan in Novem­ber 2014 and was con­cluded in June 2017.

Transnet Na­tional Port Au­thor­ity project man­ager Pi­eter-Ben van Rhijn said the project had since shown a re­turn on the au­thor­ity’s in­vest­ment.

“We have ser­viced more than 140 lo­cal and for­eign fish­ing ves­sels since the com­ple­tion of the [boat hoist] fa­cil­i­ties in April 2016,” Van Rhijn said.

“This is in line with our ex­pec­ta­tions of the grow­ing need among the fish­ing fra­ter­nity.

“The boat hoist is ca­pa­ble of lift­ing up to 90-ton ves­sels from the dock­ing bay.”

Port man­ager Rajesh Dana said the fa­cil­ity has tripled its an­nual in­come since the project’s con­clu­sion.

Work on the project was com­pleted in phases, which in­cluded the up­grade of the boat dock­ing bay from where the boat hoist lifts ves­sels.

There was also con­struc­tion of a new con­crete slab where ves­sels are placed for re­pair and the in­stal­la­tion of other re­quired in­fras­truc­ture for re­pairs.

The lead-in jet­ties, which were 130 years old, were also de­mol­ished and re­built as the pre­vi­ous struc­tures had been con­demned due to cor­ro­sion.

“The jet­ties, which ex­tend the life of the slip­way, were con­structed at a lower level to create much-needed ad­di­tional berthing space and at the same time pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties to per­form wet re­pairs,” the port au­thor­ity said. “The boat main­te­nance slab was in­creased in size and can now ac­com­mo­date a min­i­mum of 10 ves­sels at a time de­pend­ing on size, as op­posed to the two ves­sels cur­rently ac­com­mo­dated on the slip­way.

“Ef­fi­ciency and pro­duc­tiv­ity has also im­proved dras­ti­cally with less risk of dam­age.”

While the new lead-in jet­ties were com­pleted and handed over for op­er­a­tional use in Fe­bru­ary 2017, work still con­tin­ues on up­grades to the 40ton slip­way.

These up­grades en­tail bring­ing the slip­way cra­dle back to 1,200 tons.

“Cur­rently, the slip­way can only take ves­sels of up to 600 tons,” Dana said.

“The pur­pose of re­vamp­ing the slip­way cra­dle is to ac­com­mo­date the dry dock­ing of [port au­thor­ity] tugs in the ports, [as] tugs are cur­rently dry docked ei­ther in East Lon­don or other ports.

“[It will also] tar­get the dry dock­ing and re­pairs [of] for­eign fish­ing ves­sels and vis­it­ing yachts, and – with the resur­gence of in­land water­way trade in Africa – the dry dock­ing and re­pair of ves­sels used in rivers and wa­ter­ways, in view of the lack of dry dock­ing fa­cil­i­ties.”

Dana said the slip­way up­grades were ex­pected to be com­pleted in the 2021/2022 fi­nan­cial year.

A to­tal of 82 di­rect job op­por­tu­ni­ties were cre­ated as a re­sult of the project.

Pic­tures: TRANSNET

ALL HANDS ON DECK: Con­struc­tion staff, left, worked hard to re­build the lead-in jet­ties at the har­bour’s ves­sel re­pair fa­cil­i­ties. The jet­ties, right, were com­pleted in Fe­bru­ary 2017, cre­at­ing the op­por­tu­nity to per­form wet re­pairs

LIFT-OFF: An­other part of the R200-mil­lion project in­cluded the pur­chase of a 90-ton boat hoist to lift ves­sels from the dock­ing bay

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