A US$30m capacity expansion for shipbuilder Austal is to be focused on its commercial shipbuilding facilities in Henderson, Western Australia and in the Philippines.
The ASX-listed company’s expansion is in response to a growing orderbook, which now extends out until early 2021, including five vessels more than 80 metres in length, collectively worth more than US$400m.
Expansion works at both shipyards have commenced, with completion of the Henderson yard expected this year, and in early next year in at the Philippines facility.
Austal CEO David Singleton said the investment was mostly aimed at the large ferry market.
“The capital investment in the commercial operation will increase Austal’s ability to secure and deliver large, high-speed aluminium vessel contracts in highly cost-effective shipyards,” he said.
“The demand outlook in the market for large high-speed aluminium vessels underpins Austal’s decision to focus its investment in this sector.”
Work currently ongoing at the Henderson shipyard includes a 109-metre high-speed catamaran ferry for Mols Lines of Denmark and work will soon commence on the first of two 117-metre trimarans for Fred Olsen Lines, destined for the Canary Islands.
Austal’s US$18m investment in its shipyard in Cebu, Philippines is to more than double its capacity.
Upgrades to the facility will include a new assembly hall that will be 120 metres long, 40 metres wide and 42 metres high.
The company also announced that it had recently began a small commercial shipyard in Vietnam.
The facility, located in Ho Chi Minh City is to supply aluminium construction support to Austal’s commercial operations for larger ships. It will also build smaller, high-speed aluminium vessels.