FRESH from its Singapore yard acquisitions, Drydocks World-Southeast Asia is building a new yard in the Indonesian island of Batam, just 20km away, where a number of Singapore-based yards operate facilities.

Drydocks World bought Pan United, which had yards in Batam and Singapore, last year and added Labroy Marine, which had diversified into rig building from its facilities in Batam.

The new yard will be modelled on Dubai Maritime City, said Denis Welch, CEO of Drydocks World-SE Asia.

To be called PT Batam Maritime Centre, the new facility will be built in an area encompassing 174 ha of land with a waterfront 1.6km long.

Land reclamation is expected to start at the end of the year and completion is slated for 2009.

As a shipbuilding hub, Batam has all the benefits of location that Singapore has, according to Welch, speaking from the new, sprawling office in Singapore overlooking the cruise berths.

The Dubai-based group is seeking to manage its cluster of shipyards in Southeast Asia in terms of combined capability.

“It is a terrific opportunity by virtue of the capacity that the four yards bring,” Welch said, referring to moving the business between the shipyards and playing to collective strength.

Drydocks World SEA CEO Denis Welch wants to bring Dubai Maritime City to Singapore.
A major part of Welch’s reorganisation will involve managing the yards as separate entities.

“At the same time we are in a position to look functionally at the shipyards,” he observed, explaining that jobs can be directed to whichever yards are most appropriate.

With the new luxury of possessing eight floating docks to which business can be directed, the same opportunities have opened up for ship repair and conversion.

Some facilities have specialised in rig construction, some in ship repair and some in building offshore supply vessels, tugs and barges.

The facilities have been renamed in order to identify them within the group.

The rig-building facility in Batam is called Graha, while the other Batam yards are now called Nanidah and Pertama.

Welch is also aiming to increase the ratio of direct employees, given that most of the 15,000 people employed in Southeast Asia are sub-contracted.

A training school with an investment of US$4 million is being opened in Batam that will concentrate on imparting basic skills and provide employees with the opportunity to progress within their chosen sphere.

In line with the Dubai model, where 80% of the workforce is employed directly, more sub-contracting will be transferred to direct employees.

“We will absorb them directly,” said Welch, whose key policy involves attracting, training and retaining employees.

Drydock Worlds SEA facilities
Yards4 in Batam and Singapore
Operationsship and rig building, conversion and ship repair
Building berths 29
Floating docks 8 (up to Panamax size)
Workforce 15,000
Article is reproduced by courtesy of Fairplay, an international shipping weekly.

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