Navy Ship-Building Project Bolsters SA Economy
As a proud supplier of provisions, equipment, and parts to vessels bound for South African ports in Cape Town, Saldanha, Port Elizabeth, Coega, Durban and Richards Bay, the Link Ship Chandlers team is always heartened to learn of new shipping projects that are poised to bolster our local economy. This is why we were so excited when we got wind of the fact that Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) was awarded the commission to build three new patrol vessels that will aid the South African Navy in protecting our country’s 1.5 million square kilometer coastline from threats such as trafficking, illegal fishing and piracy.
Project Biro, as the initiative is called, will yield more than 1 000 000 hours of work, effectively creating 1000+ direct and indirect jobs, and utilise 60% local content for the manufacture of the ships. DSCT Director Sam Montsi has also indicated that they will be facilitating opportunities for local businesses and have identified equipment and service suppliers that comply with BEE specifications or are owned by black military veterans. It is their aim to work with these SMEs and micro-enterprises to improve their overall business models throughout the project to ensure that it will remain sustainable in the long run.
R1.5 billion has been set aside for the construction of the vessels that will become the workhorses of the SA Navy in coming years. These new Multi-Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPVs) will be able to do the work of a strike craft, mine countermeasure vessel, and torpedo recovery vessel, taking over the responsibilities of ships that have currently been in rotation for more than 40 years running. The first one is expected to start patrolling by July 2021. The second and third are scheduled for delivery in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Once these vessels take to the waters the Navy will be far better equipped to deal with the challenges of trafficking, illegal fishing, and smuggling, which has been on the increase due to a lack of maritime law enforcement. The ships will facilitate the mounting of more cost-effective, focussed and effective missions and will be of immediate benefit to the country as a whole.
With projects like these in the pipeline, there is cause for much optimism where the local shipping trade is concerned. For more exciting freight-related news and info from inside the Link Ship Chandlers camp and around the globe, keep an eye on the blog in coming weeks and months. We always have our ear to the ground and take pride in sharing the latest shipping and freight news as it becomes available.