South Africa’s Transnet National Ports Authority has placed a record order with Voith for nine new Voith water tractor (VWT) tugs for deployment at several ports across the country.

As part of what is claimed to be the largest order in Voith’s history, Durban-based South African Shipyards will build VWTs over the next 42 months.

Eight of the nine vessels on order will be powered by two Voith Schneider 32R5/265-2 propellers, which offer a bollard pull of 70t and will be deployed for harbour towage operations in the ports of Saldanha Bay, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Richard’s Bay.

"The…37.1m-long vessel will enable Transnet to protect the ecologically sensitive coastal regions of the West coast."

Powered by two VSP 36R6EC/285-2 engines, the last 37.1m-long vessel will enable Transnet to protect the ecologically sensitive coastal regions of the West coast.

In addition to VSP, each of the water tractor tugs will comprise two turbo couplings and two Renk couplings.

The eight identical Voith tugs will be equipped with a mechanical control system, while the 100t bollard pull VWT will feature the Voith electronic steering system.

In addition to delivering these components between 2015 and 2017, Voith has also been tasked with delivering local training, skills development and capacity building to Transnet workforce, ensuring safe and efficient use of the VWT fleet.

Operating 23 vessels with Voith Schneider propellers, Transnet is responsible for managing all eight commercial seaports in South Africa and offer port infrastructure and marine services to deal with the international freight traffic.