WALVIS BAY – Ship repairing company, Elgin Brown Hammer (EBH) last week on Friday commissioned its impressive multi-million dollar Panamax floating dock, Namdock 3, at the harbour town of Walvis Bay.
The 195-metre floating dock, which represents the largest infrastructural investment that EBH Namibia has made to date, will increase the company’s dry docking capacity by 15 000 tons.
This also heralds significant positive implications for the future of Namibia’s economy. The new floating dock will substantially increase the capacity to offer shipping clients a one-stop service of global standards. The dock can service at least five vessels at the same time depending on their size. The new floating dock will also create at least 150 new jobs for locals. Namdock 3 arrived in Walvis Bay in July and is already fully operational.
Speaking during the commissioning of the floating dock, the Minister Works and Transport, Erkki Nghimtima, applauded EBH saying its latest infrastructure investment is a symbol of a vision for a prosperous, globally competitive Namibia coming to fruition.
“EBH Namibia, together with its majority shareholder Namport and other shareholder DCD Group are deeply committed to the government’s long-term strategy Vision 2030 – that aims for a prosperous and industrialised Namibia, developed by the nation’s human resources.
“It also sees a nation where there is equity in income distribution across all groups, a country which fully utilises its human potential, and a globally competitive nation which reaches its maximum growth potential on a sustainable basis,” the minister explained.
Also speaking at the event the Chief Executive Officer of Namport, Bisey Uirab, said the partnership between government and private sector entities is a critical success factor in the growth and development of the economy of Namibia, and Africa as a whole.
“Our strategic partnership with EBH Namibia has helped give the local shipping industry its competitive edge. Ours is a strong working relationship driven by a common vision for the future of Walvis Bay as a leading ship repair hub in Africa. The Panamax floating dock is a powerful symbol of the progress we are making in ensuring that this vision becomes a reality,” Uirab went on to say. Namport owns 52 per cent of EBH.
According to Hannes Uys, 421 workers worked night and day, meeting stringent deadlines to ensure the dock is fully commissioned before lifting her first vessel.
“We pride ourselves not only in continuously improving our customer service offering, but also being part of a global trade network that will provide much needed job creation and revenue for Namibia,” he said.
He further said Africa has evolved into one of the biggest potential growth markets in the world, and the shipping industry, largely driven by the oil and gas industry, is growing accordingly.
“The acquisition of the third dock will ease EBH Namibia’s shipyard over-capacity and ensure a more sustainable level of output. It will also cater for a broader spectrum of vessels requiring shipyard services along the west coast of Africa,” Uys explained.
So far EBH Namibia has contributed an estimated N$2 billion to the economy of Namibia in terms of downstream revenue and job creation.
EBH Namibia was established in 2005 against the backdrop of the greater goal and government vision to establish a significant shipbuilding and repair sector to complement ambitions of developing a major and world class port at Walvis Bay.
In 2006 the company’s first floating dock, Namdock 1, was commissioned and within six months their first major oil rig repair was underway.
Namdock 1 was a success and in 2008 the company ordered its second floating dock, Namdock 2 and now the floating Namdock 3.
By Eveline de Klerk