Cape Town based Veecraft Marine has considerably expanded its production capacity by moving to new premises in the Port of Cape Town.
Part of the Paramount Maritime Holdings group, Veecraft Marine is a specialised aluminium vessel construction company that has grown over the past 17 years via several locations throughout Cape Town, but none with direct access to the water.
At the official opening of Shop 24 on 7 August, James Fisher, CEO of Paramount Maritime Holdings, noted that successful businesses rely on certain fundamental building blocks, such as capital, infrastructure and people.
“It’s absolutely vital to a business like this,” Fisher explained, “You can only grow a business like this relative to your capacity and facilities that you have. These facilities are in extremely high demand and there are very few of them. Not only because you need a boat height, but you’ve got to have a building that’s very close to the water.”
The Paramount Group is positive about the future of Veecraft Marine, noting that the company faces “huge global competition that have access to phenomenal facilities right on the waterfront.”
Many of these competitors receive subsidies and have cheaper labour costs. The secret to Veecraft Marine’s success, says Fisher, is Veecrafts’ value proposition of client relations, vessel design, build quality and price.
Fisher told defenceWed that since Paramount Maritime Holdings took the strategic decision to separate boats under 30 meters in length and over 30 meters in length, “Veecraft has been given a very singular focus on achieving in that category, with testament of this being their current full order book” which is making a meaningful contribution to the Paramount Group.
Stuart McVitty, Chief Operations Officer of Veecraft Marine, told defenceWeb that their previous facility in Paarden Eiland was only 1 500 square meters, but the new facility of 2 500 square meters “really cements us as a sustainable shipyard.”
Being located within the Port and close to the water means that the ship builder will no longer have to stop traffic to transport a boat when launching as well as disturbing surrounding infrastructure and replacing it again after the move.
“What it allows us to do is to meet the needs of customers in terms of bigger vessels, higher volumes and faster production,” says McVitty,
Veecraft concluded a lease agreement with Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and moved in at the beginning of June.
McVitty says that TNPA have been “fantastic” in facilitating the move, assisting with the upgrade of the building, fixing the roof and getting the cranes running again: “TNPA have been really collaborating with us on this project and being a true stakeholder, not just sitting back and being the landlord.”
Although the order book is full, Veecraft Marine is still chasing future projects and looking to build larger vessels, moving from the current 12 meter size vessels to the 20 to 24 meter range as they “bed down our niche market, which is between 8 and 30 meters in length.”
The primary market for the company is Africa, with the current order book split 50/50 between local South African orders and exports. One exciting new project is for a 24-meter catamaran that will be powered by Volvo Penta Inboard Performance System (IPS) drives.
“We actually start laying the keel the end of the month,” McVitty noted proudly, “This will be the first boat in the Oil and Gas sector with the pods as well as the first boat built in Africa with IPS, the collaboration with Volvo in Sweden has been absolutely fantastic.”