Home » Maritime » Opportunities abound for local ship building, repair industry

THE local shipbuilding ship repair (SBSR) industry is alive and well in the Philippines, thanks to recent developments in the maritime sector and trading industry.

At the recently concluded 2nd BIMP-EAGA Conference at the Peninsula Manila in Makati, Transportation and Communications undersecretary for Maritime Affairs Agustin Bengzon cited support from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), medium-term requirements by the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard, and the need to replace the ageing domestic merchant fleet as reasons for optimism within the SBSR industry.

Through its Sustainable Logistics Development Program (SLDP), the DBP is allocating P12 billion for, among others, the building of 96 vessels to provide roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) services to 48 routes. Bengzon said the DBP is making funds available for the SBSR sector and is considering the establishment of a ship financing facility in response to private sector clamor to package the building of ships.

“In collaboration with the National Development Corporation, the company will institutionalize and facilitate ship financing in the Philippines,” he noted. AFP requirements.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has expressed interest in building a partnership with the private sector for the modernization of the Philippine Navy. “The acquisition program of the Philippine Navy over a 15-year period involves the upgrading and new building of over a hundred vessels of various types, including 53 patrol craft/boats, 15 transport ships, 23 amphibious craft, 14 offshore patrol vessels and 15 other types of vessels,” Bengzon said.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is also in need of new vessels. It is acquiring – over a 15-year period – 311 multi-role response vessels. From 15 meters to 125 meters long, the vessels will be used for search and rescue, oil pollution response, anti-piracy and anti-smuggling activities.

The ageing domestic merchant fleet and deep-sea fishing fleet meanwhile call for replacement. There are currently about 185 vessels more than 25 years old; 128 are within the 26- to 30-age group; and 57 above 30 years. “These have to be replaced with newbuildings and newer ships,” he said.

Another opportunity for the SBSR industry, Bengzon stressed, is the gradual phase-out of wooden-hulled vessels. The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) recently came op with a policy prohibiting the construction of new wooden-hulled ships. The merchant fleet comprises 2,664 wooden-hulled vessels, the largest group of which (1,543 vessels) are motorized bancas.

Bengzon said the MARINA has identified nine large shipyards all over the country capable of building new ships, including two local joint-venture shipyards building ships for foreign buyers, Tsuneishi Heavy Industries, Inc. and FBMA Babcock Marine, Inc., both based in Cebu. To date, the largest shipbuilding facility is the 300,000 deadweight ton (DWT) graving dock of the Subic Shipyard. Two shipyards have a synchrolift facility – Keppel Batangas with 20,000 DWT and Phil. Iron Const. & Marine Works, Inc. with 1,500 DWT.

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