Monday, October 18, 2021

Austal PH completes largest trimaran; WCIP expansion to generate 14K jobs

DELIVERY. Austal Philippines has delivered Bañaderos Express (Austal Hull 395), an Austal Auto Express 118-meter high-speed trimaran ferry, to Fred. Olsen Express of the Canary Islands. / AUSTAL PHILIPPINES

GLOBAL shipbuilder Austal has recently completed Bañaderos Express, the largest high-speed trimaran ever built in the Philippines and second largest high-speed vessel to be constructed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bañaderos Express is also the 20th vessel Austal has completed since it set up shop in West Cebu Industrial Park (WCIP) in Balamban, Cebu in 2012. It was built for inter-island ferry service Fred. Olsen Express of the Canary Islands.

Austal Philippines president and general manager Wayne Murray said the delivery of Bañaderos Express was a very proud moment for the Balamban-based team of 1,000 employees, who safely and efficiently constructed the 118-meter ferry throughout the pandemic.

“We are understandably very pleased to deliver such an impressive ship to Fred. Olsen Express, soon after delivering Fjord FSTR for Fjord Line of Norway, earlier in 2021. Now, we continue our efforts on delivering the largest high- speed ferry ever built in the Philippines, againーthe 115-meter Express 5 for Molslinjen of Denmark. Austal Philippines is not only delivering world-class ships for customers around the world, but we’re developing Filipino shipbuilding capability, right here in Balamban. We are indeed very grateful for the continued support of the West Cebu Industrial Park and look forward to the facilities’ expansion that will create even more opportunities for local businesses to join the Filipino shipbuilding industry,” he said.

Shipbuilding capital in PH

The milestone further strengthens Balamban’s position as “Shipbuilding Capital of the Philippines,” as Cebu Industrial Park Developers Inc. (CIPDI) is gearing up for the expansion of WCIP that will see the development of 40 hectares for industrial locators. There will be 15 lots in total, ranging from one- to five-hectare areas.

“We are proud to be hosting Austal, which is renowned for designing and building world-class ships that allow for the most comfortable traveling by sea. As we celebrate this achievement with them, we are proud to soon launch the construction of our expansion that can help bring in more world-class locators to Balamban,” said Rafael Fernandez de Mesa, CIPDI president and first vice president for the Aboitiz Integrated Economic Centers.

“We are excited to fulfill our vision to develop WCIP into a pioneer of industrial-anchored townships on the west coast of Cebu, enabling businesses and the local community to thrive,” he added.

More jobs

Construction for the expansion is set to kick off in January 2022 and scheduled to be completed by December 2023.

It will allow for more industrial spaces plus a four-hectare Commercial Complex, a Central Terminal and communal parks.

New locators and businesses that will be brought in are expected to generate up to 14,000 new jobs for the municipality.

With the expanded industrial zone and additional amenities, CIPDI expects to attract a more varied mix of locators into WCIP, including light and medium manufacturing companies. The company has started taking reservations for the upcoming inventory, and has already secured new locators.

WCIP’s industrial locators and commercial tenants currently employ a total of 14,000 Filipinos. (PR)


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