BUSINESS Leadership SA member and JSE-listed integrated energy and chemicals company Sasol has entered into a R400 million enterprise and supplier development (ESD) funding agreement with Nduna Maritime through Sasol Siyakha Trust to acquire its first tanker vessel, Bow Cecil. Sasol said the agreement is Sasol Siyakha’s single largest funding agreement to date.

Sasol spends R1.8 billion a year on shipping from South Africa to global markets. Mnambithi Group executive chairperson Vusi Mazibuko said the acquisition of the tanker vessel would be beneficial for both Sasol and Nduna Maritime as it would transport chemicals to international markets, including Sasol’s products.

“We are excited about the acquisition and have long-term plans to own and operate our own tankers. We also have plans to expand our fleet in both liquid bulk and dry bulk vessels which will reduce the country’s current dependence on foreign-owned vessels,” Mazibuko said.

BLSA congratulated Sasol on this initiative saying that it epitomises what Inclusive Growth is all about. “All SMMEs ask for are opportunities, mostly access to market. From there, like any other business, they will do their utmost best to perform. Sometimes, as in the case of Nduna Maritime, SMMEs need access to finance, and where our members can use their ESD funds to facilitate such, we encourage to do so,” said BLSA.

The tanker vessel handles outbound shipments of chemicals into South East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe for Sasol and other companies. Mazibuko said the purchase by Nduna Maritime made for a positive contribution to the development of the maritime sector and South Africa spends R160bn a year on foreign-owned and operated vessels. Bow Cecil will handle inbound shipments of vegetable oils, caustic soda, phosphoric acid, and other chemical products for Omnia, PetroSA and Sappi, to name just

 a few.

100 percent black-owned chemical company

Bow Cecil is South Africa’s first flagged vessel that will transport chemicals to international markets registered to carry the South African flag. The 37 000 dead weight tonnage vessel, equipped with 47 tanks, was acquired from the Norwegian company, Odfjell Chemical Tankers.

The move has seen Nduna Maritime becoming the first 100 percent South African-owned and 100 percent black-owned chemical company in the maritime sector. Nduna Maritime is a subsidiary of the Mnambithi Group. The Mnambithi Group consists of companies participating in commodity trading, shipping, bulk liquid storage terminals and mining.

As the owner of Bow Cecil, Nduna Maritime will leverage the asset to increase its capacity to ship more chemical products to markets concentrated in Asia. Vuyo Kahla, the executive vice-president: advisory, assurance and supply chain at Sasol, said it was a landmark agreement and a significant investment into localising and diversifying their supply chain. “As a global producer of a number of chemical products, we supply numerous markets around the world with products made in South Africa.

Through Nduna Maritime, we are extending our value chain participation through a South African business,” Kahla said. This funding agreement with Nduna Maritime through Sasol Siyakha Trust is one of the BLSA members that is at the forefront of and spearheding #InclusiveGrowth by empowering and promoting SMMEs. For more on these funding initiatives for SMMEs by BLSA members follow us on Twitter  @BLSA_Official and Facebook @BusinessLeadershipSouthAfrica