By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Austal Philippines, a subsidiary of global shipbuilding firm based in Australia, is expanding its existing shipyard in Cebu with P1.04 billion ($20 million) in new investments to expand its capability to build and design larger vessels in the country.
The company highlighted the increased capabilities of its Balamban, Cebu shipyard at the opening day of this year’s Philippines Marine (PHILMARINE) expo. Austal is an Australian-based global shipbuilding company and defence prime contractor that specializes in the design, construction and support of defence and commercial vessels. Its product range includes naval vessels, high-speed passenger and vehicle ferries and specialist utility vessels such as offshore windfarm and crew transfer vessels.
Austal Philippines President Wayne Murray said the $20 million expansion, which is set to be completed in July 2019, will enable Austal Philippines to manufacture larger sea vessels. Part of the expansion is a new 120-meter long, 43 meter wide, and 41 meter high assembly bay.
The bay is already in use: the largest high-speed aluminium ferry ever constructed in the Philippines – a 109-meter Catamaran for Fjord Line of Norway, is currently being manufactured at the site.
The Cebu shipyard operates as the global center for commercial vessel design, development and construction of Australia-based shipbuilding company Austal. The facility is strategically positioned to cater to future market demands for ferries, workboats, fast crew transfer boats, commercial vessels, and military vessels.
Austal Philippines has successfully delivered 17 ships to 10 operators in nine countries around the world since it began its operations in February 2012. The shipyard began with 30 employees and now boasts a workforce of over 900.
Ninety-eight percent of Austal Philippines’ workforce, from engineers, designers to their skilled laborers are Filipino.
With a skilled and experienced Filipino workforce, Austal Philippines has demonstrated an ability to deliver complex vessel projects on-time and on budget. Employees are able to work with the latest innovations and immediately apply best practices – a benefit not only for the local shipbuilding industry but also for the Filipino designers, engineers, and builders employed under Austal.