| TheBahamasInvestor.com |
February 21, 2013
February 21, 2013
With the Panama Canal set to double its capacity in 2015, the Grand Bahama Shipyard will reap the benefits of increased business and be able to contribute further to the island’s growing maritime sector, according to Carl-Gustaf Rotkirch, chairman and chief executive officer of the Grand Bahama Shipyard.
Freeport is located on a major shipping route and will see increased maritime traffic when the Panama Canal expansion project is completed in 2015, he said.
“We are one of the few that can accommodate the new business that we are expecting in that region. I believe that will be a good boost for us.”
The shipyard, which opened in 2000 and is owned by the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruises, sees around 100 dockings a year and has an average of 700 employees.
Around 75 per cent of the yard’s business comes from commercial projects, with the remaining 25 per cent coming from cruise ship repairs or alterations. When it first began the yard relied on local business, but now services ships from all over the world.
“What we thought would be a regional thing is now turning global,” said Rotkirch, addressing the first day of the Bahamas International Investment and Business Forum (BIIBF), which is being held at the Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport this week.
The shipyard CEO admitted that there were some areas of improvement, however, saying that it could be difficult to source the hardware the yard needed and the skills.
“Ship repair is a new industry on the island and it does not have quite the critical mass yet to sustain itself, but we are working on that.”
According to Rotkirch, the shipyard has contributed $240 million to the local economy since it opened and it runs a training programme to develop local talent, as well as to support local sub-contractors.
Other leading figures from the maritime sector are also attending the BIIBF, with speakers including chief executive officer of The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) Davey Rolle, chairman of the Kestrel Group Andy Thorne and BMA deputy chairman Peter Goulandris.