Phakisa project injects R60-million to help local economy

The Port of East London’s Prince Elizabeth Drydock is back in business after a successful refurbishment project, Engineering News reports.

The 72-year-old drydock was recommissioned by Transnet National Ports Authority as part of the Operation Phakisa policy intervention that aims to bolster the maritime economy. East London was identified as one of the sites with potential to significantly bolster job creation in boatbuilding and ship repair. TNPA has invested R60million in two priority capital projects at the port:

The refurbishment of the drydock’s main shut-off valves and the rehabilitation of the caisson gate, according to Engineering News.

“East London is uniquely positioned within the South African port system to facilitate and accelerate both ship repair and boat building operations,” port manager Sharon Sijako told Engineering News. “We have sufficient capacity to offer the industry and, having newly modernised and upgraded our facilities, we are on track to start writing an exciting new chapter in the ocean economy story,” Sijako said.

The drydock refurbishment included the fabrication and installation of steel plates, as well as replacement of anodes and D-fenders, among other tasks. The job was completed in September and at its height employed 100 workers.

“It is envisaged that a revitalised dry dock will create significant downstream economic activity benefitting local engineers, artisans, suppliers and small and medium-sized enterprises offering services,” the report said. “Local leisure and hospitalities businesses also stand to benefit, as ship repair and boat building activities traditionally attract large teams of specialist contract workers.”

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