There was excitement at Dormac recently when the keel-laying ceremony for a new $8.2m oil bunker barge commissioned by Smit Amandla Marine signaled the revival of the shipbuilding industry in South Africa
. Dormac's empowerment partner, Palisa Investments, owns 25.5 percent in the company, according to a report on www.busrep.co.za.
Pim Zandee, the former chief executive of Smit Amandla, said the specialist marine services company, which is the biggest oil bunker supplier in the Durban harbor, chose Dormac to build the bunker barge as it wanted to prove that the work could be done in South Africa. The barge is due for delivery in September or October next year.
Dormac was established in 1967 as Dorbyl Marine and built 107 ships until 1994, employing 1,800 workers. With the change of government, it lost the export incentive it had depended on to be competitive and had to renege on seven orders because it was no longer internationally competitive.