On Thursday, 23 November 2017, Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) welcomed over 50 invitees from across the Southern African dredging sector to its yard in the Port of Cape Town for a one-day seminar on dredging. The guest list included representatives from a wide range of companies with an interest in dredging; encompassing those that supply dredging services, those that employ dredging services, and various government agencies.
The Damen Shipyards Group is a leader in the design and build of both dredging vessels and the equipment they use to extract and relocate sediment. Damen dredgers can be found in operation all over the world, and the group has particular expertise is the design of modular dredgers that can be delivered in a series of containers and transported by road to remote inland locations, where they can then be assembled and put to work.
The programme ran from 9am to 4pm and included a presentation, lunch and a demonstration of a DOP dredge pump. There were also Q&A sessions at various intervals to ensure that any queries were swiftly answered.
The opening address was delivered by Sefale Montsi, a Non-Executive Director and board member of DSCT, and Benny Bhali, Sales and Marketing Executive at DSCT. Andrew Mukandila from the Department of Trade and Industry, Ms Bonnie Horbach, Consul General, Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Riyaadh Kara from the Department of Public Works, then each spoke to the assembled delegates.
Also present at the event was a delegation from the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA). The agency is responsible for the implementation of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which involves the construction of a number of dams and reservoirs, and its representatives welcomed the opportunity to meet with participants in the dredging industry and discuss its future requirements.
These were then followed by a series of presentations covering techniques, technology and current issues involving maintenance dredging (Arthro Petersen, TNPA Dredging) and capital dredging (Selvan Pillay, TNPA Dredging), dredging equipment (Olivier Marcus, Damen Dredging Equipment) and dredging services (Tom Steenman, Damen Services).
After lunch, the guests had the opportunity to see a Damen DOP 150 Submersible Dredge Pump in action from a mounting on the quay wall. This was made possible by the cooperation of James Tucker and his team from T&T Marine, Southern Africa’s leading dredging and marine contractor.
“It was a great success,” commented Sefale Montsi, “and we were delighted by the large number of guests who accepted our invitations. The South African Government through the Department of Trade and Industry has been very supportive of the event, sharing our goal of developing a sustainable dredging industry in the region by raising awareness of the value that it can deliver to our maritime sector and promoting dialogue among all the relevant stakeholders. Our event gave invitees the opportunity to listen to expert guest speakers discussing the future of the dredging industry in the region.
“We also received much positive feedback from our guests, who appreciated this chance to expand their knowledge of the current status of dredging in Southern Africa, and of the challenges and opportunities that are available to them. It also allowed us at DSCT to demonstrate how we can assist and support this growing industry.”
Andrew Mukandila, Deputy Director of Industrial Policy at the Department of Trade & Industry, added: “The seminar on the dredging industry in Southern Africa was an eye opener on the potential that the industry has in terms of growth, job creation and skills development mainly for young people. We are of the view that, if given an opportunity on the local market, the industry will greatly develop, attract investments in equipment manufacturing, and build market confidence and competitiveness in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.”
Due to the positive response to the seminar from the industry, DSCT is now considering making the seminar an annual event.