As part of its commitment to accelerate transformation in the South African shipbuilding industry, Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) has recently helped to empower Africa Projects Consultants; a small, 100% black-owned business focused on the shipbuilding and ship repair sectors, via a R5 million (€312,000) interest-free loan to purchase a state-of-the-art pipe-bending machine. This investment will enhance Africa Projects Consultants’ capabilities and so grow its business. Both companies have signed an agreement to seal their partnership.
Jaap de Lange, DSCT managing director, said: “Every ship is comprised of a mass of pipes, much like the veins and arteries in the human body, so good pipework is fundamental in every vessel. Up until now, there has been no pipe-bending service that could adequately cater to our needs. With this initiative, there will soon be a modern capability able to serve both our demands and those of the wider shipbuilding and repair sector in our region.” The new machine will dramatically improve quality and reduce the time and cost involved in bending pipes. It will arrive in South Africa at the end of September.
The way pipe-bending of thick wall thickness pipes is done now involves manually welding together two pipes and an elbow or alternatively complete bend pipes were imported. This much more technologically advanced pipe-bending machine will not only increase the speed at which the pipe bending and fabrication can be done, it will also increase quality substantially. This makes the products and services offered by Africa Projects Consulatants much more efficient with quicker turnaround times, enabling the company to be more competitive. With this new equipment Africa Projects can expand its services to other customers in the maritime and other markets.
Project manager and co-founder of Africa Projects Consultants, Taufeeq Phipps added, “With DSCT’s help we will now be able to grow our business into something that can sustain a large number of employees in the Western Cape.” DSCT’s financing of the pipe-bending machine is part of its Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) programme. This also involves DSCT mentoring suppliers in areas such as sales & marketing and financial management, and also in delivering local and international networking opportunities.
Eva Moloi, transformation manager at DSCT, adds that DSCT is committed to and very passionate about transforming the country by playing a critical role in the marine industry. “Projects, like the construction of the three Multi-mission Inshore Patrol Vessels for the South African Navy, have allowed us to introduce black-owned companies to incredible opportunities that they otherwise would not have been exposed to.”