UAE-based port operator Abu Dhabi Ports has signed a contract with offshore contractor Gulf Marine Services (GMS) for setting up a shipbuilding facility at Zayed Port where GMS will construct and maintain its offshore support vessels that serve the region’s oil and gas industry.
Under the deal, Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi city, which is a regional hub for the cruise industry, and general and bulk cargo, will lease the new facility to GMS for three years.
GMS, specializing in operation of self-propelled self-elevating support vessels (SESVs), also known as jackup barges, plans to move all vessel construction, repairs and mobilisations to the new yard.
The company’s construction and maintenance yard is currently located in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi. The relocation to Zayed Port is expected to bring substantial benefits to GMS’ business, as the new site is double the size, increasing the yard to 42,500 sq. ft.
The larger capacity will allow GMS to bring subcontracted fabrication work in-house, generating cost savings. In addition, the location of Zayed Port is operationally more efficient being closer to the channel, with access to the sea requiring just one day’s passage instead of up to six days required from Mussafah due to tidal conditions.
“ We have been very busy at our current yard, having increased our SESV fleet size from nine to 13 vessels since 2014; by the end of 2016 we will have added another two vessels. We were searching for a new location that would allow us to continue our business strategy to grow our fleet and operations and to make further improvements to our build process, while offering competitive and flexible offshore support solutions to our national and international oil and gas clients,” says Duncan Anderson, CEO of GMS.
The move will be phased between now and March 2016 when the company’s latest newbuild vessel, GMS Sharqi, is scheduled for completion at the Zayed Port site. GMS’ head office will remain in Mussafah and the yard there will continue to be used for supplementary purposes.
“GMS’ new facility at Zayed Port is the latest extension of Abu Dhabi Ports’ significant services to the exploration and production sector, which is vital to the economy of the UAE and the region. Zayed Port and two adjoining ports―Free port and New Freeport―are playing a major role in the important services to this crucial sector,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports.
The relocation comes following a makeover at Zayed Port which saw container and RoRo cargo traffic being moved from there to the Khalifa Port, opening up the space for the GMS facility.