Samin president: Ship repair lucrative business in Sarawak and Malaysia

Dr Renco Yong

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KUCHING, Dec 1: Malaysia’s dependence on shipping to facilitate its trade and marine-related activities such as cargo transportation, offshore oil and gas exploration and production, port operations, fisheries, passenger transportation and maritime patrolling provides attractive opportunities for Sarawak shipyards.

This is the view of Sarawak Association of Marine Industries (Samin) president Renco Yong who pointed out that there are an estimated 5,300 registered Malaysian vessels which would need to undergo docking and bottom-surveying every two or three years to ensure their seaworthiness. 

There are only 30 shipyards with the capacity and capability to provide dry-docking services for these ships.

“These numbers show the potentially lucrative market in the ship repair segment of the SBSR sector in Malaysia and Sarawak.

“There are other segments within the SBSR sector which offer tremendous opportunities for shipyards and supporting players, for example in building eco-friendly ships, application of Industry 4.0 technology in shipping and SBSR, and improving the fuel efficiency of ships,” said Yong.

Yong said the global trend is that vessels are getting bigger as shipowners pursue economies of scale to carry more cargo over longer distance at lower costs.   

“The top shipbuilding nations—namely China, Korea and Japan—currently dominate and continue to pursue the ocean-going supersize ships segment. With their mastery in high technology and being advanced, they are capable of delivering huge, sophisticated vessels and will likely to continue to focus this segment.”

This presents opportunities for shipyards in developing countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam to build and service smaller vessels, namely those with 50,000 DWT capacity.

However, shipyards in these countries must improve their efficiency and productivity and enhance automation to stay relevant and move up the value chain, amid intense global competition in this segment, said Yong.

He pointed out that Malaysia would continue to become a major player in the offshore oil and gas industry in the foreseeable future.

“This would guarantee strong demand for a range of workboats such as Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs) which Malaysian and Sarawakian shipyards are good at building.

“In addition, the dependence on shipping will ensure robust demand for tugboats, passenger vessels, barges, harbor tugs, fishing vessels, patrol crafts and various other types of small vessels which are the forte of local shipyards in building and servicing,” he said at the launch of a book titled “Sarawak Maritime Industry: A Catalyst for Economic Growth at the Annual General Meeting of Maritime Strategic Association of Malaysia (Mastra) held at The Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (Might) in Putrajaya recently.

Yong also stressed that the industry players have weathered various economic cycles including the recent downturn posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Regardless of the ups and downs of the marine industries and the changes in government policies, industry players will remain steadfast.”

“The journey towards attaining maritime excellence and global competitiveness is one that we the industry players is committed to undertake. We shall remain resilient in contributing to the trade and socio-economic development of Malaysia and Sarawak”, said Yong.  — DayakDaily