Dubai-based shipping company Gulf Navigation Holding (GulfNav) is upgrading its fleet with new technologies that will help reduce the vessels’ fuel consumption and prepare them for new environmental regulations.
The company revealed that two of its petrochemical tankers have entered the dry dock for the mandatory five-year maintenance that includes major upgrades to the two carriers and is in line with the group’s short and long-term plans to reduce the environmental footprint of its fleet and trans-sea operations.
As explained, the upgrades will also help the vessels meet the new environmental standards for gas emissions and ballast water treatment, enabling them to operate in markets such as the European Union and North America.
In addition, GulfNav has announced its financial results for the first half of this year which show that the group suffered a loss of AED 14,761 million (USD 4,018 million), compared to a profit of AED 19,029 million seen in the corresponding period a year earlier. What is more, losses for the second quarter of 2018 stood at AED 19,702 million, against profits of AED 10,199 million posted in Q2 2017.
Commenting on the results, Khamis Juma Buamim, Board Member, Managing Director and Group CEO of Gulf Navigation Holding said: “Although our financial records show losses in this quarter, it is a necessary step for achieving future gains (…) One of the most important achievements was to end the legal dispute with one of the Chinese companies that dates back to 2014. We managed to reach a settlement to reduce the claim to $8 million.”
“Another important investment expense, for which we have allocated a substantial amount of the company’s revenues in this quarter, is the quality upgrade of our ships (…) We have installed gas exhaust pumps to reduce sulphur emissions and added advanced equipment to treat ballast water to prevent biological pollution,” Buamim added.
“We have also installed new advanced engine fans that reduce fuel consumption by 5%. Taking this step now helps us avoid having to use higher-priced, less-available low-sulphur fuels and thus risking higher operating costs and the possibility of our vessels to stop and not generate revenues while waiting for fuel,” he continued.
Buamim explained that choosing this particular time for the upgrade has two advantages for the company. The first advantage is increasing the return on investment allocated to owning the vessels by increasing their operating lifespan through the comprehensive maintenance, while the second is to get long-term contracts from producers of petrochemical derivatives which will look for environmentally-friendly ships that will not be banned from entering the markets that are bound by the new standards.
As stressed by the group, reducing the fuel consumption of Gulf Navigation’s vessels adds a competitive advantage that allows it to achieve higher profits and offer better prices than its competitors. Moreover, Gulf Navigation said it will be ready to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to achieving the UAE’s goals in this regard for 2020, 2025 and 2030.