VISION OF GROWTH

Saudi Arabia 2020 | TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | INTERVIEW

IMI strives to provide external operators and its partners world-class MRO and new-build facilities.

Fathi K. Al-Saleem
BIOGRAPHY
Fathi K. Al-Saleem was appointed CEO of IMI by Saudi Aramco in 2017. He also led the feasibility and commercial development stages of JV between Aramco, Bahri, LEL, and HHI. Al-Saleem worked with Aramco for 23 years in various leadership roles.

IMI is a JV between Aramco, Bahri, Lamprell Energy Limited (LEL), and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). How did this partnership come about, and what were the main objectives of joining forces?

In order to develop a world-class facility and build the Kingdom's first-ever rigs and ships, Aramco knew it needed to join forces with the right and reputable partners and engaged HHI, LEL, and Bahri to form IMI as a JV. Saudi Aramco wanted to combine the strength of four industry leaders that would bring decades of experience in the construction, maintenance, repair, and overhaul of vessels and rigs. The success of IMI would be built on the collaboration of these renowned industry leaders with a proven track record of successfully operating commercial yards around the world. HHI and LEL bring the technical know-how in ship and rig building, and Bahri brings valuable knowledge of operations. With the power of these four partners, IMI represents a truly viable business that will transform the maritime manufacturing industry in the Kingdom for years to come.

How do you envision developing your product and service range?

IMI will focus on the manufacturing of jack-up rigs, vessels, and offshore support vessels (OSVs) along with the maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services of these products. IMI has been working closely with the Saudi government to create and enable an environment that will make the yard globally competitive. In February 2018, two offtake master agreements were signed. The first one was with Bahri, which ensured that IMI would receive Bahri's new vessel orders and MRO on vessels. New build work is estimated to reach 52 vessels within a 10-year period. The other agreement is with ARO, ensuring that IMI will receive orders for 20 new-build jack-up rigs over the same period of 10 years. This guaranteed work is a significant milestone for IMI as it guarantees that at least 40% of its capacity will be utilized from its opening date, ensuring IMI can attract key supply chains to set up in Kingdom and develop IMI's technical capabilities over the duration of the offtake work. IMI will have the perfect platform to build a track record that will allow it to be competitive in the global market and attract international operators to the Kingdom to ensure IMI operates at full capacity.

What is your approach toward innovation and R&D, and what trends in maritime technology are you incorporating?

IMI will deploy the latest international technological innovations to deliver a competitive advantage, including big data analytics, virtual reality, additive manufacturing, process automation, and a diverse range of robotics and software integration. IMI will be in a position to establish collaborations with key suppliers and direct R&D activities toward innovative solutions for customers, making it more competitive in executing equipment management services and therefore improving the lifecycle costs of clients' assets. This strategy will be implemented in three phases; the first will focus on establishing a market presence and introducing asset life cycle management as a service. During the second phase, IMI will grow its market presence and start using data to introduce new offerings. Finally, as IMI becomes recognized in the market, it will expand its unique offerings to improve manufacturing and cost efficiencies for its customers.

The Kingdom strives to be an instrumental logistics hub at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. What role do you see for IMI here?

The maritime industry in Saudi Arabia has advantages that support its growth. If we look at the current level of activity from local players such as Saudi Aramco and Bahri, there is approximately 500 million tons of seaborn trade out of the Kingdom, more than 100 ships, 50 offshore rigs, 400 offshore platforms, 350 OSVs, and more than 2,000 calls on Aramco export terminals. The localization of the maritime industry has great significance to the Kingdom, the region, and world.