Bahrain plans floating power barges
Manama, December 12, 2011
Bahrain will soon have floating 'power barges' to provide electricity in cases of natural disasters or shortages, which will be manufactured as a joint venture between Asry and British company Centrax.
HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Deputy of His Majesty King Hamad and Crown Prince, lauded the Asry's strides which, he said, is a proof of efforts exerted to upgrade the kingdom's industrial and maritime sectors.
This came as the Deputy King, deputised by His Majesty, attended the launch of Asry's 35th anniversary celebrations at the shipyard in Hidd. It was held under His Majesty's patronage.
Asry is an 'iconic monument' that embodies the success of regional and international co-operation, he added.
Asry chairman Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa said the barges can be used to provide much-needed power if regular power stations are crippled by natural disasters. 'The new company has started the process of building two of these barges.'
The massive new $188 million (BD71 million) repair facilities include a 1,380 metre quay wall.
'These new facilities will dramatically increase production capacity and enable us to repair offshore vessels and oil rigs - a new business area in which the company is rapidly growing,' said Shaikh Daij.
'Over the past three decades, Asry has played a vital role in supporting and strengthening our national economy, using state-of-the- art shipbuilding and repair technology.
'Hundreds of new jobs have been created for Bahrainis in various specialisations, radically developing the ship repair industry regionally and internationally.'
He said none of these accomplishments would have been possible without efforts of the company's executive management and employees.
'Without those efforts, we would not have been able to achieve such results in all of the company's activities,' said Shaikh Daij. He added that Asry continued to grow and increase production levels, improve services, and maintain a leading position in the industry.
This is while working to minimise negative impacts of the recent financial and economic crisis and confront the ever rising competition in the industry, added Shaikh Daij.
Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries Secretary-General Abbas Ali Naqi said Asry emerged as a significant Arab landmark, thanks to its expertise and qualified human resources.
'It managed to bring state-of-the-art shipbuilding and repair technology to the region, and, in the process, develop a trained Arab workforce in the manufacture of hydrocarbon tankers and shipbuilding and repair industry,' Naqi added.
Naqi said the project also created job opportunities in this sophisticated sector, which involved electrical, mechanical and electronic technologies.
'Mastering those skills would not have been easy without the determination and resolve of the concerned decision-makers,' he said.
The project represents a strong boost for Arab economies as a whole and the economy of Bahrain in particular, added Naqi.
He said last year was challenging for the company and world markets in general as well as the maritime and shipyard industry in particular. 'This was a result of the global financial crisis and the difficult economic conditions that the economies of many countries faced and are still facing,' said Naqi.
He said Asry also faced - and was still facing - stiff competition in the industry. 'But despite these tough conditions, the company managed to overcome the difficulties in the first half of this year and achieve good operational results,' said Naqi.
He said Asry made expanding its business and achieving the highest levels of progress and development a top priority.
'Ambitious programmes such as the current expansion project and other forthcoming projects are dedicated to achieving those goals,' said Naqi.
Seatrade chairman Chris Hayman said the way Asry had adapted to changing market conditions was admirable.
'It is clear that the world maritime industry is facing challenging market conditions, but some interesting opportunities for the ship repair sector may nevertheless be forthcoming,' he said.
Hayman said the soon to be enforced International Maritime Organisation's ballast water convention would create the need for the retrofitting of 39,000 vessels over a five- year period.
'I have no doubt that Asry will be competing effectively for a significant share of this business,' Hayman said.
He said the last 35 years had seen remarkable increase in the size and scale of the Arab-controlled merchant fleet and many of its leading names were all major customers for Asry.
'The proliferation of offshore exploration in the Gulf has equally stimulated demand for repair and maintenance services,' said Hayman. – TradeArabia News Service