Chief executive of Transnet National Ports authority, Shulami Qalinge.
Chief executive of Transnet National Ports authority, Shulami Qalinge.

R250 million deal for two helicopters to service ports

By Given majola Time of article published Feb 22, 2018

Share this article:

Durban - Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has sealed an agreement to procure two new helicopters, to service KwaZulu-Natal’s port of Durban and Richards Bay, to the value of R250 million.

TNPA chief executive Shulami Qalinge said on Wednesday that they had concluded negotiations and signed an agreement for the manufacture, supply and delivery of two new helicopters, to be delivered by June next year.

“The AgustaWestland (AW 109) helicopters, valued at around R250m, are being procured from Leonardo SpA, formerly Leonardo-Finmeccanica, Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland,” said Qalinge.

Leonardo is an Italian global hi-tech company headquartered in Rome, and is one of the key players in aerospace, defence and security.

The TNPA said the contract for the new helicopters included a 25% (R62.5m) supplier development obligation by the global supplier, to ensure that the contract created socio-economic benefits within South Africa.

“These would include job creation, skills development and, where possible, use of local, empowered companies and local materials or parts.”

Qalinge said clients would welcome the prospect of improved operational efficiency and safety in TNPA’s marine aviation service.

“Richards Bay and Durban are the only ports in our complementary port system which use helicopters to transfer marine pilots on and off visiting vessels. We have an existing fleet of three AW109 helicopters and this purchase forms part of the Fleet Replacement Programme.”

Progressive Youth in Business (PYB) chairman, Buhle Mkhwanazi said they had not heard about the recently announced project.

“We would not know who would benefit from the 25%, but would prefer it to be previously disadvantaged individuals,” said Mkhwanazi.

PYB had threatened to shut down the Port of Richards Bay last year, citing that local businesses and communities living around the port did not benefit from the ongoing expansion projects.

“Transnet has since opened the table for talks. We are seeing changes because now there are projects that are ring-fenced for previously disadvantaged individuals, youth, women, military veterans and people with disabilities.”

Mkhwanazi said that the pace of these projects was slow.

Daily News

Share this article: