Novagroup is a leading provider of marine rescue equipment, container storage, warehousing and support services. Supplied
PRETORIA – Grindrod, the listed freight and financial services group, is planning to strengthen its position in the niche marine technical market.

The move follows the acquisition early this month of Novagroup, a leading provider of marine and aviation rescue and survival equipment, container storage, shipwright, warehousing, bespoke engineering and support services, by Grindrod’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Sturrock Grindrod Maritime (SGM), from Pescanova.

Sturrock said Nova provided services that dovetailed with Grindrod’s existing businesses of Sturrock Grindrod Marine Tech and Grindrod Intermodal on the provision of marine and aviation rescue equipment.

Sturrock said it would enable them to leverage off respective sales and servicing agreements of both SGM and Nova, with a view to enhancing their range of services and increasing their comprehensive product offering to the marine and shore-based industries they served.

Grindrod chief executive Andrew Waller said they had advised that they were looking to “scale up” their businesses.

Novagroup is a leading provider of marine rescue equipment, container storage, warehousing and support services. Supplied

“It is important that these acquisitions support our existing core expertise and that they contribute to unlocking trade corridors for our valued customers.

“This acquisition of a good footprint, agencies and people will do exactly that. We continue to look at further opportunities to enhance our service offering to customers,” he said.

Grindrod Intermodal has a total of 411600m2 of warehousing and depot facilities in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Mozambique with a throughput of 350000 TEUs a year.

It said the integration of Nova’s UCD would provide a further total of 78000m2 of depot facilities in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, Grindrod reports that, together with its partners, it was continuing to build on its core freight management competence in improving and unlocking trade corridors, which was evident in the recent improvement in the efficiency achieved at the port of Maputo.

It attributed the improved efficiency to the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), a national private company in which Grindrod has a 24.7percent shareholding, completing the Maputo port deepening at a cost of $85million (R1.2bn), with the further investment of $25m in freight handling equipment to facilitate the more efficient loading of Panamax vessels to be completed in the second quarter of next year.

In addition, the berth deepening and quay offset project at Grindrod’s Matola Coal Terminal (TCM) was completed, which now allows fully laden Panamax vessels to berth at TCM, and TCM increasing coal volumes by 36percent through collaboration between key business partners Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), Mozambique Ports and Railways (CFM) and MPDC.

The other shareholders in MPDC, which has secured the port concession until 2033 with the option of extending it for a further 10 years, are Mozambique Railway Company (49percent), DP World (24.7percent) and local partners (1.6percent).

Grindrod shares closed 1.78 percent higher at R6.85 on the JSE yesterday.