Buoyed by strong year-on-year growth in the number of vessels calling at its Duqm yard for dry-docking maintenance and repairs, wholly government-owned Oman Drydock Company (ODC) has set its sights on evolving into a full-fledged shipyard from 2023.
According to Said bin Hamoud al Maawali (pictured), Chief Executive Officer, the transition into a shipbuilding facility is proposed to be gradual with initial efforts focused on small-scale ship fabrication activities.
“Shipbuilding has always been part of our long-term plan,” said Al Maawali. “We will start on a modest scale with the construction of relatively simple ships, but after 2023, our plan is to target shipbuilding projects that are quite significant.”
Speaking to the Observer, he said the company has already begun scouting the market for potential shipbuilding orders, noting that any new investment towards upgrading the capabilities of the ship repair yard would be modest. “We will need some investment, but not a significant amount,” the CEO said. “The main investment will be in lifting capacity, which will cost in the neighbourhood of $40-50 million.”
A member of Asyad Group — the Sultanate’s transportation and logistics flagship — Oman Drydock Company continues to deliver strong growth on multiple fronts. The company has handled in excess of 600 vessels — of all sizes and types — since it came into operation in 2011.
“Last year, we had a 30 per cent increase in dry-docking maintenance and repair orders (compared to the previous year), and we are expecting a further increase of 15 per cent in calls this year,” said Al Maawali. “In terms of revenue, we are expected a 40 per cent increase this year.”
The fiscal picture is also brightening for ODC, he noted. “Last year, we improved our financial situation by 59 per cent, and we expect a further improvement of at least 50 per cent this year. We are not making yet, but the plan is to start making money starting in 2021.”
To help boost the financials of the company, the CEO has opened two new revenue streams that have already started to pay dividends. “Instead of just depending on ship repairs for our revenues, we have opened up a new revenue stream by recycling dangerous ship waste, which used to be sent outside Oman in the past. At the same time, we have commenced our steel fabrication business, and make some headway in this regard.”
ODC’s goal is to develop its steel fabrication business to rival its dry-docking activities in revenue terms, according to Al Maawali. The company is currently targeting markets in 14 countries around the world for steel fabrication opportunities linked to Oil & Gas, Chemicals, Offshore Hydrocarbons, and Modular Fabrication,” he said.
“We are the also the first yard in the Middle East that has begun fabricating scrubbers for the shipping industry. Most yards can only install scrubbers. But we are building the capability to fabricate as well as install them.”