The Port of East London’s Princess Elizabeth Drydock was recently recommissioned following a successful series of refurbishments.
The project, which is estimated to have cost approximately R60 million, is expected to bring much-needed economic benefits to East London down the line.
“East London is uniquely positioned within the South African port system to facilitate and accelerate both ship repair and boat building operations,” said port manager Sharon Sijako.
“We have sufficient capacity to offer to the industry, and having newly modernised and upgraded our facilities. We are on track to start writing an exciting new chapter in the ocean economy story.”
Part of the project included the refurbishment of the caisson gate to address possible corrosion and leaks, as well as the installation of steel plates on the main deck.
The project is expected to significantly reduce the time required to flood the dock, thus enhancing operational efficiency.
In addition, port authorities predict that a revitalised dry dock will benefit many different sectors of the economy, from engineering and local SMMEs down to businesses in the leaisure and hospitality sector.
“The eastern half of the Eastern Cape remains one of the most marginalised and under-developed regions in South Africa.
“As the local port authority, we have a responsibility to leverage the full extent of our resources and facilities to enable growth, development and, crucially, job creation in the communites we serve,” said Sijako.
The drydock was first opened in 1947 by Princess Elizabeth, whom it is named after.