Posted November 7, 2019
Innovative maritime equipment and services provider Royal IHC says Africa is developing at a challenging time, where the need for greater African economic integration is urgent. At the same time, China seeks growth in Africa and Russia and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development States are keen to participate in Africa’s rising economies.
IHC commercial director for Africa Rajesan Naiker says it is also a critical period considering the pending implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
The company has remained committed to continuously meeting the specific needs of its customers in a world with ever-changing demands.
IHC has specialised expertise in engineering, consulting, training and manufacturing of high-performing integrated vessels, equipment and parts in the offshore, dredging and mining markets.
The company has offices in eight regions across the world. These are supported by its knowledge centre in the Netherlands.
Each regional office, such as those in South Africa and Nigeria, is an autonomous engineering, project management, capital sales and services organisation. They serve local customers with innovative solutions tailored for that region’s specific needs.
In this way, the company is able to develop close relationships with customers to drive efficient and successful integrated project closure.
PROJECTS IN AFRICA
In South Africa, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and IHC embarked on a valuable partnership many years ago. In addition to its existing fleet of IHC-built vessels, the TNPA has been working closely and sharing knowledge with the Training Institute of IHC in the Netherlands.
This is to set up a formal and accredited dredging certification at the Transnet Maritime School of Excellence, in Bayhead, Durban, with the aim being that local expertise will flourish.
Meanwhile, in August, IHC was awarded the delivery of dredging equipment by the Subtech Group for a project in Mozambique. An important aspect of the contract is the transfer of knowledge by on-site assistance and training.
The company’s IHC Beaver® 50 cutter suction dredger (CSD) will increase the local dredging capacity for a range of much-needed projects for the region, such as flood-line encroachment protection, increasing dam capacities, river desilting, waterway pollution control and storm surge protection.
IHC has also been active in Mozambique’s mining market. The company designed, developed and delivered a mining CSD for Aim-listed Kenmare Resources, in September, which will help to increase the miner’s production by more than 20% from 2021.
The company further partnered with the engineering authority within the Egyptian Ministry of Defence to supply ten CSDs. The dredgers are deployed for maintenance of Egypt’s lakes and waterways, including for the removal of excessive sedimentation, deepening of waterways and associated environmental projects.
Moreover, IHC in June signed a contract with Cameroon’s Port Authority of Douala (PAD) for the delivery of an IHC Beaver® 50 CSD and Delta Multi Craft 1450 work boat. The company will assist the PAD in creating local dredging capacity, which will reduce dredging costs and improve operational flexibility for the port.
“This is just the beginning in what is a critical time in Africa’s development. IHC is on a mission to contribute to the realisation of a powerful African economy, and doing so in a manner that caters to the development of a rapidly growing, aspirational young workforce, as well as to the specific risks that climate change poses for the region in the future,” says Naiker.
CATERING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
“The need for strategic solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change on ports and maritime transport is becoming increasingly clear, especially in Africa. African States often cannot respond effectively and expeditiously to the present and increasing future need to combat climate change impacts.
The key factors for us, in all our projects, are to use innovative solutions to accelerate the projects viability, create employment and realise the future benefits to the stakeholders involved,” notes Naiker.
He adds that, no doubt vulnerable small island nations, ports and coastal infrastructure will be hardest hit by the anticipated rise in sea levels, extreme storms and irregular rainfall that climate change brings.
“As the Indian Ocean warms up, we have seen an increase in the severity of tropical cyclones in Southern Africa, along with an increase in storm surge impacts throughout the continent. This requires strengthening of coastal defences to protect strategic installations, as well as regular replenishing of storm-eroding beaches, affecting tourism and property,” says Naiker.
He explains that irregular rainfall patterns and resultant flash floods create the need to respond differently and implement ongoing maintenance in water collection and distribution systems.
River desilting, waterway clearing, river bank enhancement, along with increasing reservoir capacity to cater for increasingly rainfall scarce periods, is becoming increasingly necessary.
The company has a number of port maintenance and development projects under way in Africa, with innovative designed solutions to contribute to Africa’s economic growth, to alleviate future threats that climate change poses and develop local expertise.