x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Damen Shipyards finally makes official opening in Sharjah

Based in the Sharjah Hamriyah Free Zone, the shipyard cost Dh365 million to build.

Damen Shipyards Sharjah cost Dh365 million to build. It covers a 284,000 square-metre site and has 1,200 metres of quay. Sarah Dea / The National
Damen Shipyards Sharjah cost Dh365 million to build. It covers a 284,000 square-metre site and has 1,200 metres of quay. Sarah Dea / The National

Damen Shipyards Sharjah was officially opened yesterday – more than two years after it began operating.

Based in the Sharjah Hamriyah Free Zone, the shipyard cost Dh365 million to build.

It covers a 284,000 square-metre site, has 1,200 metres of quay, and a water depth up to nine metres.

The project is a joint venture of Albwardy Marine Engineering and Damen Shipyards Group, said Marcel Van de Kreke, the venture’s sales and marketing director. Both are equal investors.

For Albwardy, which runs three shipyards in Dubai and Fujairah, the investment is an integral part of its growth strategy.

“With an investment of Dh365m, we expect to double last year’s figures,” said Mr Van de Kreke. “In specific numbers of vessels, we expect to drydock more than 120 vessels a year, building and delivering a new vessel to clients each month.

“We have a full order book for 2014-15 with 70 vessels under contract and the yard is fully booked for new builds.”

The shipyard will service a variety of working boats. “We presently have contracts for two multicats, two shoalbusters, two barges, one aluminium crew boat and not less than 10 ASD tugs,” Mr Van de Kreke said.

While the official launch was yesterday, the shipyard has been in operation since November 2011, with facilities to repair and construct all type of vessels, and has recently delivered tugs, workboats, support vessels, dredgers, landing craft, floating docks, barges and pontoons.

“We are focusing on the whole Gulf region but most of our business comes from the UAE. Our other customers come from across the Gulf, the east coast of Africa and the west coast of India,” Mr Van de Kreke said. “Africa and India are growing all the time with more and more vessels needed in these regions. However they do not have sufficient drydock and new build facilities close to home so we are one of the options to help service their operations.

“There is a lot of competition in this area for their business especially in our range of vessels but Albwardy has been running these operations for 35 years and knows the business inside out.”

ascott@thenational.ae