SOPHISTICATED SHIP

Abu Dhabi 2016 | AEROSPACE & DEFENSE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Khaled Al Mazrouei, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB), on enhancing the maritime industry, new investments, and challenges for the industry in the region.

Dr. Khaled Al Mazrouei,
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Khaled Al Mazrouei has held a number of high-profile roles and driven sustainable business expansion across the Emirates’ transport sector. Before joining ADSB in 2013, he served as the General Manager of Fujairah International Airport for more than 10 years and Chairman of the Gulf Airport Services Association. He was also the Founding President of the Green Aviation and Logistics Group, an environmental body aimed at driving green initiatives across the aviation industry. He has lectured at different universities across the UAE, in marketing, business management, aviation management, and aeronautic engineering. Since Dr. Al Mazrouei took over ADSB, the company has become profitable within a short period of time.

How would you describe the business model that you have championed here at ADSB?

In line with Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, we are focusing on enhancing the capabilities of the maritime industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As a company we have focused on growing and enhancing our capabilities. When we were first formed, we focused on supporting the repairs and refits of UAE Navy vessels. Now, we have a portfolio, both military and commercial, of construction and retrofit projects, also offering extensive through life support programs for these ships. The successful Baynunah Corvette Program to build six ships for the UAE Navy was the stepping stone for ADSB to prove its capabilities in building highly sophisticated ships, after which we won several contracts to build more than 100 vessels ranging from large gun boats to small MRTPs. The project life cycle of building new ships is much longer than ship repair projects (services), which means it takes a longer time to generate revenue. We have focused on not only growing our capability but diversifying our offering to execute ship repair projects, on both commercial and naval ships, that will help diversify the revenue base and add financial sustainability to the business. Another element of our diversification strategy was the decision to expand our capacity to drydock larger vessels. Our current facility at Mussafah can only accommodate ships up to 80m in length, which means that ship repair for larger ships could not be facilitated. We therefore invested in a new floating dock that can drydock ships up to 180m in length. This new facility will commence operation at Mina Zayed during the third quarter of 2016.

Where do these combined services and shipbuilding place the company within the GCC and MENA region?

When we talk about shipbuilding, specifically military shipbuilding, ADSB is the leader in the MENA region; no other shipyard has the capabilities of ours. We have an experienced team supported by a state-of-art-facility to build a range of sophisticated ships. We have consistently maintained this core strength while also enhancing our ship repair capabilities as seen by the new facility in Mina Zayed to cater to larger ships. We have also set up an international agent's network to market the services of this new facility in an effort to attract a new network of overseas clients.

What challenges are present for the company, and how are those obstacles being managed?

The shipyard industry is dynamic and we are constantly looking at ways to build upon our current capabilities. When we look at current challenges, some might be regional competition, maintaining a skilled workforce and the larger impact of the global economy. The ADSB senior management team has formulated a set of effective strategies, which will be implemented over the next five years, to ensure that we effectively address any challenges and continue to be a leading shipyard in the region.