Department of Trade and Industry Secretary (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, on March 4, presented the Hanjin Facility in Subic and other investment options to visiting Dutch shipbuilding company Damen Shipyard Group which is to possibly partner with the Philippine Navy to build and supply naval defense vessels, DTI said.
“Shipbuilding is one of our priority industries not just in Subic, but also in many locations in our archipelagic country. We have the required manpower and skillset for new shipbuilders. As a market ourselves, the country is also in need of smaller vessels like the Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO) ships,” said Secretary Lopez.
According to DTI, unlike Hanjin, Damen does not produce large container ships. Instead, they focus on smaller vessels like yachts, cruises ships, navy ships, and tug boats.
Damen chairman Kommer Damen said this puts them in a good position because they’re not affected by the overcapacity in the cargo ship market that caused Hanjin to scale down their operations.
“The company already has a footprint in PH through their partnership with the Filipino company Propmech Global Technologies and their contract with the Philippine Airlines. DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said that Damen’s technical team already surveyed the facility and is reviewing how it will fit in their current plans,” DTI said.
Board of Investments (BOI) Governor Napoleon Concepcion shared that shipbuilding companies from Australia and Norway are investing in Visayas and Mindanao respectively and offered similar sites to the Dutch company.
Chairman Damen said this is a good scenario to have with more shipbuilders in an area due to greater industry support and better education for employees.