Durban Shuts Dry Dock for Upgrade as Port Seeks to Win Customers

The dry dock at the South African Indian Ocean port of Durban will be shut for two months of repairs as the country’s third-largest city seeks to win new shipping customers.

“We identify great potential in this ship repair and building industry, as well as the oil and gas sectors, and clearly the dry dock upgrade will make us more competitive,” Durban Port Manager Moshe Motholi told reporters in the city Monday.

The project is part of 2.2 billion rand ($177 million) South Africa is investing in ship-repair sites at the ports of East London, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Mossel Bay. The country is also spending about $1.3 billion adding new facilities at Saldanha, Richards Bay and East London.

The Durban dry dock, the country’s largest after Cape Town, was only used by 37 ships last year and isn’t profitable in its current state, Motholi said. The repairs, which will shut the dry dock in August and September, are the first since it was commissioned in 1919.

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