Operation Phakisa reignites ocean economy


The South African Government’s Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy initiative has yielded more results with the launch of two tugboats built for Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

“Operation Phakisa is reigniting growth in the ocean economy and has been a catalyst for Transnet’s fast-tracking of investments into our ports,” Chair of Transnet SOC Limited Linda Mabaso said on Friday, in Durban.

The two tugs – named Qunu and Cormorant – form part of TNPA’s R1.4 billion contract awarded to Durban ship builder, Southern African Shipyards.

According to the Ports Authority, this is the largest single contract TNPA has ever given to a South African company for the building of harbour craft and will see a total of nine new tugs built for the South African port landlord over three and a half years.

Mabaso said the tug building contract was a concrete demonstration of the local ship building expertise that Operation Phakisa aimed to leverage as part of its focus on the oceans economy.
“South Africa’s location and the expertise demonstrated by projects like this are key to us increasing our share of the global marine manufacturing market, including ship-building and repair, rig repair and refurbishment or boat-building,” Mabaso said.

According to the Chairman of Southern African Shipyards, Dr Donald Mkhawanazi, the project of building the tugboats has created at least 500 direct and 3 500 indirect jobs.
“The commitment of employees continues to ensure the delivery of quality tugs, on budget and on time,” Dr Mkhawanazi said.

During the ceremony, Mabaso named the two tugs ‘Qunu’ – in reference to the Eastern Cape home village of former President, the late Nelson Mandela, while the other tug was named ‘Cormorant’ after the aquatic bird species of the same name.

Tug Qunu will be allocated to the Port of Port Elizabeth alongside her sister tug Mvezo, which was the first to roll off the production line recently.

Qunu is expected to be handed over in June, while Cormorant is destined for the Port of Saldanha, in July.