Oman Drydock Company (ODC), which owns and operates a major ship repair yard at Duqm, is set to join hands with a trio of prominent international marine engineering services providers in an ambitious bid to add new market segments to its portfolio of ship repair and maintenance services. While two of the companies in question are based in Singapore, a global hub for ship repair and marine engineering services, the third is headquartered in the Far West, said Dr Ahmed al Abri (pictured), ODC Deputy CEO — Operations.
The identities of the three companies, he added, will be revealed once their appointments as technical partners are formally approved by Asyad (formerly Oman Global Logistics Group), the holding company which represents the government’s interests in a number of transport and logistics entities operating in the Sultanate, including ODC.
“Instead of opting for one international technical partner, as was contemplated earlier, we are now going in for three different partners,” said Dr Al Abri. “The first will be dedicated to the small, specialised vessels segment of the market, while the second will focus on the market for large vessels, retrofits, conversions and subsea projects. The third partner will be exclusively focused on the offshore market,” he added in comments to the Observer.
The new partnerships, due to be formalised shortly, will help wholly government-owned ODC diversify its service offerings to encompass the dry-docking and maintenance of all kinds of crafts and structures,. This includes submersibles and semi-submersibles, structures for underwater operations, specialised sea and subsea vehicles, offshore structures, dredgers and so on — vessels and structures that are proposed to be handled for the first time at the Duqm facility.
“Given the wide and diverse scope of the global ship repair market, we felt it was very important and advantageous to have different technical partners for specific areas of the market, rather than have one partner for the entire business as was proposed earlier,” Dr Al Abri said.
The technical partners, said the Deputy CEO, will be involved in the joint marketing of ODC’s state-of-the-art ship repair yard centring on a pair of two world-scale dry docks capable of handling some of the largest ocean-going merchant vessels in service.
“Through joint marketing, ODC and its partners will seek to bring major projects to Duqm. While our partners will assist in providing the required engineering supervision, we have the technical facilities and staff already in place for the execution of these jobs,” Dr Al Abri said, noting that the yard has ample capacity to handle a significant ramp-up in new orders.
Importantly, each of the three specialist firms lined up by ODC for signature as technical partners is a prominent player in their own right, according to the official. The company based in the Far West is a major service provider to energy majors like Shell and BP. The two firms from Singapore are specialists in the small ship segment and offshore industry respectively, he stated.
Meanwhile, ODC is also close to formalising a joint venture pact with Babcock International Group, the leading engineering support services organisation of the United Kingdom. An initial agreement between the two sides was inked last November. The JV will help enhance the Duqm yard’s ability to provide a range of superior marine engineering services to vessels from British and international naval fleets.
“We are in the final stages of (completing the permitting processes) with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in this regard. A formalisation of the JV will happen very shortly,” he added.
Since it came into service in 2011, ODC has handled over 450 vessels to date at its Duqm facility and is on track to surpassing the 500-vessel milestone before the end of this year.