On 5 November 2014, Ms Marisa Gerards, the Dutch Ambassador for South Africa, attended a meeting in which the details of the cooperation between Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and Royal IHC (IHC) were explained in detail. This takes the form of a supplier development plan (SDP), which is part of IHC's contract to deliver a large dredging vessel to TNPA.
The key points of the SDP are as follows:
- the training and set up of a dredging school, as well as the supply of a simulator
- outsourcing the supply of parts to the local market in South Africa
- connecting with the local supply chain for spare parts and to increase local service capacity.
IHC is committed to contributing to the improvement of the position of minorities within South African society and supporting local governments. Therefore, the delivery of the main components of the dredging installation will be outsourced to local companies to support their development. In addition, training programmes will be provided for local suppliers and scholarships will be offered.
The cornerstone of the SDP is the opening of a training institute in Durban. This facility will be a partnership between TNPA's Maritime School of Excellence (MSoE), IHC's Training Institute for Dredging (TID), as well as TNPA's Dredging Services.
Over the next three years, TID will assist MSoE with the launch of a dredging school in South Africa. TID will support MSoE by training local dredging operators on their new advanced hopper simulator, developing course curriculums and training materials, and training the future teachers for the school through a so-called "train the trainer" programme. This will create a pipeline of skilled dredge operators that will sustain the requirements for Dredging Services, and will also result in graduates of the course having a marketable skill for which there is a worldwide demand.
This month TID started the cooperation by holding a training programme for 12 Nigerians from the Bayelsa State at MSoE's facilities in order to improve their skills as cutter suction dredger operators, with the ultimate goal of providing them with better job opportunities in their home country. They are being educated by means of the state-of-the-art dredging simulator. During the meeting, the ambassador was given the opportunity to operate the simulator while being guided by one of the trainees. This course will run until 14 November 2014.
IHC has a local presence in South Africa through its business unit, IHC Marine & Mineral Projects (IHC MMP) in Cape Town. IHC MMP and TID are also offering the latter's successful cutter suction dredging simulator programme to the rest of the South African dredging market in a course that will run for three consecutive weeks, starting on 12 January 2015 at IHC MMP's premises. This course is targeted at cutter suction dredger operators with a minimum of one year's experience.