South Africa: Dutch Minister Visits Damen Shipyards Cape Town

The Dutch Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade, Mr Henk Bleker, visited Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT). The visit, organized by a.o. the South African Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (SANEC), the Dutch Embassy and the Netherlands African Business Council, is part of his 3-day mission to Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa. DSCT’s Managing Director, Mr Frank Rebel, illustrated the strengths of South African shipbuilding to the Minister.

Central to Mr Bleker’s visit is helping to find and promote new ways of improving African economies, especially their maritime and agricultural industries. One example is the development of the Port of Saldanha, for which Minister Bleker signed a letter of intent with Saldanha’s Mayor Rosil Jager and the Port of Rotterdam’s Environmental Protection Agency (DCMR). Another example is the growth of Damen Shipyards Cape Town, which can deliver tugs and workboats to the expanding port. Since Damen took over the former Farocean shipyard three years ago, it has built 15 dredgers, tugs and workboats up to 60 metres. The orderbook is filled until June 2012.

DSCT’s Managing Director, Frank Rebel, says: “We are honoured by this ministerial visit. Mr Bleker is clearly very interested in South Africa’s economic development and the part that Damen plays in this development. To ensure our shipyard will continue to deliver high-quality, reliable ships, we stick to two main policies that encompass both business goals and social aspects. On the business side we endeavour long term growth in South Africa and the sub-Sahara region. Socially, we strive to be an integral part of the Cape Town community, our in-house training centre being an example. From the point of view of our shipyard, Minister Bleker’s visit is a recognition of the success of these policies.”

As Mr. Bleker was shown around the shipyard’s premises, Mr Sam Montsi, the South African shareholder, proudly showed him a brand new Damen Multicat 1908 workboat, to be delivered next month to Angola. Next, DSCT’s in-house Apprentice Training Centre was visited. The Centre trains boilermakers and welders and currently offers facilities for 21 men and women and their training officer. Frank Rebel stressed the importance of education and skills development: “We offer training on all levels. From welders to project managers and from skilled workers to management, we all need to develop ourselves if we want to remain a competitive shipyard. Damen has committed itself to this. Another sign of our commitment can be found in our stockpile management. It’s actually quite simple: by building vessels for stock we are able to maintain a constant workflow, hence we maintain a constant labour force, which means constant levels of local employment.”

With a BBBEE-rating of 3 and a substantial NIP-offset, Damen has committed itself to building high-quality ships in Africa for African clients. To this end, DSCT has invested tens of millions of Rands from the start as part of an on-going investment program in logistics, internal organisation and infrastructure. Frank Rebel: “South Africa is an emerging market and we are proud to be part of it.”

 DAMEN Shipyards Cape Town: building in Africa for Africa

DAMEN Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) is part of the Damen Shipyards Group. Damen employs over 6,000 people, operates 35 shipyards worldwide and delivers up to 150 vessels every year. Based on its unique, standardised ship-design concept and short delivery times, Damen is able to guarantee constant quality. DAMEN Shipyards Cape Town builds offshore patrol vessels, dredgers, tugs, naval craft and platform supply vessels, especially for clients on the African continent.

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Source: maritimebyholland, October 6, 2011

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