It has always been Dormac’s serious intention to own and operate a dry dock. This has been a strategy going back to its beginnings when Dorbyl Marine Durban and Imac (a Southey Holdings Company) decided to merge their businesses back in June 2000.
Sixteen years later and Dormac is about to realise that dream by way of a new multi million rand composite Floating Dock in the Port of Durban, which will go a long way toward meeting the demand for ship repair in South Africa’s busiest harbor.
On Friday, 29 April 2016, the Floating Dock named Dormac Dock 1 left the Pallada Shipyard in the Ukraine under tow to the tug Fairplay 33 and is now on a 8,344 nautical mile journey via the Atlantic seaboard to South Africa. She is expected in Durban before the end of June.
Unique to all other Floating Docks in operation in South Africa and neighbouring Namibia, Dormac Dock 1 is brand new with the latest state-of-the-art technologies which will include two brand new 7.5 ton cranes. The dock will be placed alongside a specially designed and constructed quay which has been partly reclaimed from Dormac’s leased land, making this unusual by reversing the usual order and adding to the water area of Durban Bay.
The new dock has a reinforced ferro-concrete pontoon with steel sides and, having paid particular attention to the design of the dock and quay, green energy-efficient technology will be adopted for all floating dock operations.
The Dock is fixed to the new quayside by two accurately-driven 25m deep pylons on which the Floating Dock will raise or lower with connection pawls. The dock is equipped with modern computerised levelling and load equipment introducing a levelling process of great stability and speeding up the docking or undocking process.
With the Floating Dock alongside a newly built repair quay, as opposed to the more common ‘Mediterranean-mooring type of placement, the ship repair will become more efficient with close access to Dormac’s adjacent state-of-the-art workshop facilities. Permanent site establishment will be in place for docking needs and reduce set up times such as blasting equipment.
Alongside the quay is a newly hardened work area created by covering an old derelict slipway that has not been in use for over 30 years, thus making efficient use of valuable harbour land. This land is ideal for back end quay space ideal for on location fabrication and laydown area for equipment close to the docked vessel. The yard has an office block available for project personnel within 50 meters of the dock entrance. The dock will also have full electronic biometric access control to not only enhance our ISPS commitments but to improve productivity measures.
There is a significant need for additional docking capacity in South Africa and particularly so in the port of Durban, where the Transnet-owned floating dock has been out of commission for many years while the graving dock has also until now suffered from a lack of maintenance and repair. The result has been the loss of numerous ship repair opportunities
“The Business Case for this project is absolutely sound and the revenue generated is expected to be a major expansion to the Dormac bottom line,” say Dormac Management. “The Dormac shipyard will be a centre of excellence for ship repair business and is certainly a huge stimulus to not only Durban but to the South African market as well.” The business case is one that is based on attracting additional docking opportunities into the port of Durban.
Dormac Management state that South Africa has always been a popular dry dock destination for ships passing the African coastline and dry docking in Durban goes back when the existing graving dock was built which was in 1926. “We are confident that the international market will take serious note of this addition to South Africa and Durban’s port facility. Several of Dormac’s large international clients have expressed resounding delight at the prospect of this stimulus and we are encouraged by the fact that the Ports in South Africa are taking heed of the initiatives of the government’s Operation Phakisa, which seeks to leverage the capacity of the South African maritime industry.
Management said that in addition to improving the Dormac balance sheet, the new Floating Dock, based on the regular through-put of envisaged dockings, would create an additional 80 new direct jobs. “The spin offs to Dormac’s business partners will ensure that those contractors and suppliers will also create additional jobs. This significant investment will hugely increase our throughput with over 45 dockings per annum created as additional capacity.
“We are also proud to announce that Dormac’s excellent award winning Artisan training program is being extended to include dry docking skills and we have already begun recruiting apprentices. Just the dry docking training will amount to a class of 25 apprentices per annum. All in all, the Dormac project fits in perfectly with the intentions of Operation Phakisa.”
Some 12 000 ships call at South Africa’s ports each year, while over 30 000 vessels sail along the South African coastline annually. The ship repair industry is estimated at well over R 1 billion in Durban in normal trading conditions – this with all docks working and no other challenges!
Given the intensive use of shipping it is logical to think of increased opportunities for ship repair, provided the suitable facilities are available. By introducing Dormac Dock 1 at Durban, Dormac will be well positioned to take advantage of these opportunities.
The new dock is the single largest investment in the history of Dormac, which is a division of Southey Holdings (Pty) Ltd. Commissioning is planned to commence in June this year and already a number of bookings have been taken.
Overall length: 155 metres
Pontoon length: 139.5 metres
Pontoon height: 4.8 metres
Dock height: 12.8 metres
Width at outer side: 32.4 metres
Width between entry fenders: 24.5 metres
Dock lifting capacity: 8 500 tons
Submersion depth: max 7 metres
Over keel blocks: 5.7 metres
Two high voltage transformers
Four ballast electric pumps
Two fire service electric pumps
Two 7.5 ton dock portal cranes
Six capstans traction force 8 tons each