Saudi Arabia’s International Maritime Industries (IMI) has signed a vessel purchase agreement (VPA) with the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) and a subsequent sub-contract agreement with South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) to build one very large crude carrier (VLCC).
As informed, the 319,000 dwt tanker is to be constructed at HHI’s Ulsan shipyard and delivered in October 2021.
Other agreements related to licensing, technical services and training were also signed with HHI to ensure capability building and knowledge transfer.
Established in late 2017 and headquartered in Ras Al-Khair, IMI is a joint venture between Bahri, Lamprell, Saudi Aramco and HHI. When fully operational in 2022, this nearly 12-million-square-meter integrated maritime yard will be one of the largest full-service maritime facilities.
The project award is said to further strengthen the business relationship between IMI and its shareholders, as well as contribute to the development of a localized maritime industry supply chain infrastructure, technical expertise for Saudi nationals, and a track record in shipbuilding.
“This sub-contract award provides many benefits for IMI, including transfer of knowledge from HHI to IMI, a mechanism to grant use of Intellectual Property (IP) to IMI, development plans for IMI employees to acquire new skills in shipbuilding and planning, as well as technical assistance,” Fathi K. Al-Saleem, IMI Chief Executive Officer, explained.
“This project award will also contribute to the long-term growth of this new industry in Saudi Arabia and will enable IMI to independently build VLCCs in Saudi Arabia to the highest international shipbuilding standards,” he pointed out.
Commenting on the award, Abdullah Aldubaikhi, CEO of Bahri, said: “Bahri is committed to playing a pivotal role in transforming the Kingdom into an important regional and global logistics and transportation hub…This project award … signifies a major development in this direction; we are confident it will provide a boost to our ongoing efforts aimed at enhancing our offerings and bolstering our capabilities.”
Located in The King Salman Complex for International Maritime Industries & Services, IMI will have an annual capacity of four newbuild offshore rigs and over 43 newbuild vessels including VLCCs, in addition to servicing more than 260 maritime products.
The first phase of production operations is expected to commence toward the end of 2020 with the facility reaching its full production capacity by 2022.