A twin milestone. That is what the Transnet National Ports Authority(TNPA) is calling the launch of their new tug boat USIBA and the delivery of the UMBILO tug to its Durban premise today(August 22).
The vessels are part of the R1,4 billion nine-tug construction contract being executed by Southern African Shipyards in Durban. The nine tugs are being built for TNPA over 3 years as part of their wider fleet replacement programme that includes new dredging vessels and new marine aviation helicopters. The christening of USIBA, meaning feather in isiZulu, was done by the president of the Zululand Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Judith Nzimande. The tug will be handed over to the Port of Richards Bay in November.
The Chief Operating Officer of Southern African Shipyards’, Louis Gontier, said the tugs were built by an all South African team, including females.
“We are thrilled that South Africans are being skilled to do the job. The participation of more females in the workplace allows for women to get involved in these groundbreaking initiatives. We want this achievement to be sustained and to build more tugs for Transnet and other African countries,” he said.
TNPA General Manager: Strategy Nico Walters said the event was special as it followed TNPA and Southern African Shipyards’ joint win for the Partnership Award in the manufacturing category in the 2017 KZN Top Business Awards.
“The South African Shipyards’ is helping play a role in unlocking the potential of the Ocean Economy. This project is an example of the potential for public private partnerships to create jobs and grow the economy,” he said.
The project has created 500 direct and 3500 indirect jobs with a minimum of 60 percent locally manufactured components.