CAPE TOWN-headquartered DCD Marine made a decision a few years ago to realign its focus to court the petrochemical industry, a decision that has shored the company up against tough economic climates and the ebb and flow of the currency.
CBN caught up General Manager Gerry Klos to find out how the company is faring.
“This year has been busy, but the second half is going to be even busier,” says Klos. The company recently acquired EBH as well, and it also has a full order book. The EBH acquisition has been a strategic one, as the company now has a ship repair element again, and access to an extended skills and resource base.
The DCD part of the cluster is still focused on the petrochemical sector, and this industry has grown along both coasts of Southern Africa, up the West coast and Namibia, and east, along Mozambique and all the way up to Tanzania. Although DCD Marine is ‘based’ in Cape Town, it also works from Walvis Bay, Durban, Coega and in remote locations, wherever the work takes them. Klos says that they will go anywhere in the world. The company has the skills and the infrastructure to take on big projects in the petrochemical industry.
It is easy to assume that a busy company is an easy company, but Klos sagely reminds us that it comes with its own set of challenges. A lot of DCD Marine’s work comes from the mandatory service that the rigs are obliged to do every five years. This can create bottlenecks in the company’s workflow, with quiet interludes followed by massively busy periods, where resources need to be carefully managed. This can be difficult in an industry where time equates to huge amounts of money. Klos says that this is a question that they are constantly working on. Klos proudly asserts that they have a world-class skills base, but dryly chuckles that when they are working on four rigs at the same time, things can get “tricky.”
The company is regulated by stringent quality and safety compliance, and is certified with the Lloyd’s ISO 9001:2008 quality management system and complemented by its Lloyd’s OHSAS 18001:2007 accreditations.
In Cape Town, DCD Marine provides dry docks - the Sturrock Dry Dock is the largest and oldest dry dock of its kind in the southern hemisphere - and a designated berth for rig and vessel repairs, modifications, conversions and upgrades. The upgrade of the A-Berth facility, currently in progress, will ensure DCD Marine’s ability to provide a world-class multidisciplinary engineering, repair and refurbishment hub - Cape Town is now set to become the preferred destination for world-class oilrig repairs and upgrades in Africa.
When conversation veered to the pros and cons of being headquartered in Cape Town, Klos speaks glowingly of the city. “The support from the Western Cape government is great. The region is well run and thriving. This, along with the great reputation that the city enjoys, means that clients enjoy coming to Cape Town.” With an excellent tourist infrastructure, the crews are able to stay in great hotels, easily access the airport and enjoy good telecommunications. “Saldannah still has a long way to go to compete with the Port of Cape Town.” He says, “With Cape Town being on one of the busiest trade routes in the world, the opportunities are enormous.”
That said, South Africa must work to remain/become more competitive. Klos says that prices in the Mediterranean are dropping as supply outstrips demand, and the labour rates in Spain are extremely low and Singapore enjoy both low port rates and low labour costs. These are factors not to be underestimated. “If South Africa supports its maritime industry, it will reap the rewards, as the economy grows and the opportunity for skills development grows.”
The company’s facilities are equipped to undertake repairs on any types of vessel including ships, oil rigs, crane barges, pipe-lay barges etc.
By Jenni McCann