Sibu-based shipbuilder TAS Offshore Bhd (TAS), which foresees a stronger demand for offshore support vessels and tugboats, is all set to expand its shipbuilding operations to China. Group deputy managing director Simon Lau said TAS planned to use the shipyard facilities of its partner in China to build the vessels.
“We are working on it (the China project). Once we get the right order, we will start to build,” he told StarBizWeek yesterday. Lau said the demand for offshore support vessels was expected to increase in tandem with the increase in offshore deepsea exploration and production activities,adding that this was likely to give rise to more new orders for shipbuilders. “The demand for tugboats has increased as the mining industries in Indonesia, particularly those related to coal and iron ore, are doing well. The outlook for the shipbuilding industry is getting better as compared with a year ago when people were chartering vessels. Now they want to invest in vessels and we have received a lot of enquiries. With more new orders expected to come in 2012, it will be a busy year for us (TAS),” he said.
Lau said TAS had on hand now 17 vessels built under contracts with a combined value of RM126.7mil. The 17 vessels comprise 13 units of tugboats, ranging from 23m to 32m in length, two anchor handling tug supply vessels, one anchor handling tug vessel and one harbor tug.
TAS group’s main markets are the Middle East, Singapore and Indonesia.
Source: thestar, August 15, 2011; Image: sbt