Situated on the west coast of South Africa, 155 kilometres (68.5 miles) northwest of Cape Town, the Bay and natural harbour of Saldanha, since its discovery in 1601, remains the largest and deepest natural port in the Southern Hemisphere; capable of accommodating vessels with a draught of up to 21.5 metres.
Saldehco, a privately owned South African SPV, took part in the initial section 56 tender in 2016, through the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA); focusing on ‘initiative two’ of Operation Phakisa, which is designed to fast track the implementation of solutions on critical development issues in the country. In August 2017, the tender was awarded to Saldehco and further to the received award, a facility operator agreement was signed between Saldehco and TNPA in April 2018.
Post the signed agreement, a lease agreement between Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (SBIDZ) and TNPA was reached. Saldehco has recently completed a 20-hectare sub-lease agreement with the SBIDZ, completing the three-way relationship and process required for additional port side land for the SOSB within a custom controlled area.
“Through these agreements, Saldehco has completed the three-way relationship positioning the base as an enabler in the Southern African maritime waters, strengthening South Africa’s ocean’s economy and placing the country as a key maritime hub on the continent. TNPA, as the National Port Authority of South Africa is the Concession owner and grants Saldehco the right to operate its facility within the port of Saldanha. SBIDZ has allowed the Offshore Supply Base to operate within a pre-customs territory to facilitate the activity of the SOSB.” Said Sophie Masipa, Chairperson of Saldehco.
Ultimately, upon completion of design development and necessary statutory approvals, construction on the facility, expected Q4, 2020, will commence. This will pave the way for the provision of marine services to vessels within the port and South African maritime waters as well as clients requiring a logistics base for their offshore activities and fleet support.
Saldehco’s key focus area, apart from its operational services, will include skills development programmes for the Saldanha Bay area, creation of jobs via enterprise development and SME incubators.
The Saldanha Offshore Support Base will directly impact South Africa’s GDP as it enables the economy to participate in the thriving maritime economy that sits on our borders with resulting job creation and expanded offerings to our entrepreneurs in the Ocean’s economy.
“Prospects for the oil and gas industry are also improving along the West Coast, with proven gas reserves, and recent exciting finds. The commencement date of limited offshore support services at the premises will be announced in due course.” concludes Sophie Masipa.