Transnet awards building contract for new Saldanha Bay tug boats.
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Transnet awards building contract for new Saldanha Bay tug boats.

State-owned Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has ordered a new tugboat and pilot boat for South Africa’s largest natural deep-water port – Saldanha – in the Western Cape.

TNPA, a division of Transnet, awarded preferred bidder status to Damen Shipyards Cape Town to build the vessels, which would include a ship-handling Stan Tug 2006 and a Pilot Cutter 2706.

The vessels were scheduled for delivery in March and May next year and would be built in Cape Town, TNPA said in a statement on Monday.

The new tug would be used for general port services and pilot duties in the Saldanha port.

Owing to Saldanha’s narrow entrance channel, the new Pilot Cutter 2706, developed by DSCT and its partner Triton Naval Architects, has been customised with a specific hull shape to maintain its speed in rough weather. It also has an increased stern gear protection while handling submerged equipment.

TNPA already operates four Damen STu 2006 Tugs in South Africa that are based on the STu 1906.

This expansion falls under Transnet’s R300-billion, seven-year capital expenditure programme, of which R86.6-billion is set towards port development.

TNPA CE Tau Morwe said the company was strategically implementing significant port expansion projects nationally to create appropriate capacity ahead of demand.

“Ships are getting bigger and the challenge is for the ports to keep up and remain globally competitive. However, through the market demand strategy we can now invest at the right level to cater for the increasing demands from our customers.”

Saldanha handled a total of 58.263-million tons of cargo, of which the major share was iron-ore for export.

Sources engineering news.

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