Oman Drydock eyes repair order-book of 200 ships per year

Oman Drydock Company (ODC) is targeting a major increase in the throughput of vessels calling at its modern yard at the Port of Duqm for repair and maintenance services.

According to a senior official of the state-owned yard – part of the government’s transport and logistics arm Asyad Group – ODC is eyeing a repair order-book of at least 200 ships per annum starting from 2021. This is in addition to an array of steel fabrication, sludge treatment and other specialized services provided by the yard to the maritime, industrial and offshore markets.

“Our plan is to reach 200 ships per year, compared to 176 ships handled last year,” said Ahmed al Sheuili (pictured), Marketing Manager. “This year, the target is 200 ships too, but due to the COVID-19 situation, we may not reach that number. However, from next year onward, we aim to achieve this target annually.”

Participating in an online panel discussion hosted by the Special Economic Zone Authority of Duqm (SEZAD) on Tuesday, Al Sheuili said the yard has so far handled over 900 ships since it came into operation in 2011. Its strategic location at the entrance of the Arabian Gulf, makes it attractive for vessels sailing in from either the Suez Canal or the Indian Ocean, he noted.

Ahead of the yard’s plan to add new buildings to its portfolio of capabilities, ODC is also gearing up for a sizable expansion of the size of its workforce, said Al Sheuili. “We currently have around 3,500 workers, but our aim is to increase it to 4,000, the majority of whom are blue-collar workers from India, Philippines, and Vietnam with experience in ship repairs. Having proven ourselves to be reliable in the repair and maintenance of ships, now is the time for the yard to move into new buildings.”

In recent years, the yard has ramped up its capabilities to offer a range of value-added services to ship-owners bringing their vessels for dry-docking and repairs.  Notable is the fabrication and installation of on-board scrubbers and ballast water systems designed to help ships meet their emission and effluent control requirements.

Spacious and well-equipped workshops also support the yard’s ambitions to grow its steel fabrication business catering to both ships and the industrial market. With these capabilities, the yard is able to build platforms, upgrade the topsides of offshore rigs and jack-up rigs, and undertake conversions for FPSOs, and storage units of offshore platforms.

Earlier, the yard launched a first of its kind facility for the handling and treatment and sludge and slop – oily water and tanker bottoms that must be safely disposed of at suitably equipped reception centres. This facility not only caters to sludge and slop wastes from visiting ships but also refineries and petrochemical plants operating in the country.

Significantly, ODC is working with SEZAD to attract specialist service providers that can complement the yard’s repair and maintenance offerings, said the official.  The goal, he said, is to position ODC as a one-stop provider of end-to-end ship and maintenance services, as well as newbuilds.