Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Grindrod has sold its bunker division, Unicorn Bunker Services, for an undisclosed amount to new co-owners Women in Oil and Energy SA (Woesa) and Linsen Nambi.

Financed through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the shipping, freight and logistics operator says the sale has facilitated the participation of black women and black youth in creating the first 100% black ship owners’ group in the country.

"This transaction supports the government’s agenda of transformation and as a company we are honoured to be part of the process of skills transfer and improving the transformation profile of the South African maritime industry," Russell Burns, CEO of Unicorn Bunker Services, said on Wednesday.

Established in 2006, Unicorn Bunker Services operates three modern bunker tankers in the ports of Durban and Cape Town under contract to oil majors BP, Engen and Chevron.

Grindrod said on Wednesday that this "proudly South African company" had been a division of Grindrod Freight Services and employed 110 people.

Woesa, as part of Woesa Investment Holdings, focuses on facilitating broad-based black women’s participation in the oil, gas and energy sector in the country. It has more than 1,000 shareholders.

"We are excited about the acquisition, [which] provides another opportunity to expose our members to the maritime industry," Khumo Ntlha, CEO of Woesa, said on Wednesday.

Linsen Nambi was established in 2012 as a 100% black-owned and managed ship broking firm. The company has expanded its services to include inland haulage, warehousing, supply-chain management and distribution.

On Wednesday, director Thuso Mhlambi said, "Transformation of the maritime sector has been a key focus of Linsen Nambi for many years. This deal is the first of its kind in SA, but hopefully not the last."