|Merger boost port’s competitive edge|
|Written by Floris Steenkamp|
|Wednesday, 25 July 2012 21:15|
A corporate merger between Elgin Brown Hamer Group Holdings and fierce long-time rival DCD Dorbyl Limited in South Africa is paving the way for the introduction of greater competition in the floating dock and oil rig repair sector of Walvis Bay’s ship repair industry.As part of the conditions for such a merger the Namibia Competitions Commission ruled last week that Namport, the majority shareholder in Elgin Brown Hamer Namibia, must make water and land available by the end of 2014 for a third floating dock and an oil rig repair area, but neither of the merging partners may own or operate such a floating dock or repair facility.
More competition may enhance Walvis Bay’s competitive edge as the location of choice for ship and rig repairs on the west coast of Africa. Cape Town currently provides Walvis Bay’s major competition for the business of repairing ships and oil rigs.
A floating dock can be flooded to sink to the seabed, allowing ships to be pulled onto the dock. The water is then pumped out of the dock’s ballast tanks, making it buoyant again, thus raising the ship out of the water so that repairs and maintenance can be conducted on a dry platform. There are two floating docks in Walvis Bay, each with the capacity to raise ships weighing up to 8 000 tonnes out of the water.
EBH Namibia owns and operates Namibia’s only two floating docks, both operational in the port of Walvis Bay. Recently marine-industry pioneer Anton Pretorius sold his share in the Elgin Brown Hamer Consortium to EBH Group Holdings, making EBH Group Holdings the sole shareholder of the EBH Consortium. The EBH Consortium in turn owns a 47.5% stake in EBH Namibia while the Namibia Ports Authority controls 52.5 % shares.
The Namibia Competition Commission also set a further condition that no retrenchments, based on the merger’s operational requirements in Namibia, may take place for a period of two years from the date on which the merger becomes effective.