Ship repair activity at Gibdock has continued to be rock solid, despite uncertainties through the first three quarters of 2020 relating to Covid-19 and Brexit. Occupancy levels remain high, contracts continue to be agreed and scheduled dry dockings are already booked into 2021, the Gibraltar-based yard reports.
“The outlook is set fair,” says Richard Beards, Gibdock’s Managing Director, as he identifies potentially greater revenue streams in LNG-related projects and renewables business for the months ahead. Beards says that Gibdock’s location at the gateway to the Mediterranean remains a key advantage but adds that the repeat business included in forward bookings “shows that customers continue to put reliability, quality of work and on-time redelivery at the top of their priority lists”.
“In 2020, being part of a tight-knit business community where fast communications enable rapid response times and the immediate implementation of any changes to health or travel regulations has also proved advantageous. We are in constant dialogue with the Port Authority, and we have frequent contact with Gibraltar Civil Contingencies, the Director of Public Health, local agents, subcontractors, hotels and transport providers.”
Beards points out that this agility and close ties with the local ship agency network mean that Gibraltar is well-established as a safe and efficient location for crew changes. “This is an added benefit for our customers because they can rely on our safe, robust protocols and, of course, good links by air with the UK,” he says.
Recently completed projects include a diverse range of repairs and conversions.
Environmental retrofits, including the installation of scrubbers and ballast water treatment systems, comprise an important and continuing revenue stream. The shipyard also successfully completed engine conversions on two Balearia-owned ropax vessels, the 950-passenger Nápoles and the 1,000-passenger Bahama Mama, from conventional to LNG propulsion. The shipyard worked closely with propulsion experts from MAN PrimeServ and Caterpillar respectively on these two projects.
“We are encouraged by forward bookings into next year,” Beards continues, “and Gibraltar’s growing importance as a bunkering hub means that LNG infrastructure is expanding fast. The power station here already uses LNG, and we expect more LNG-related port calls, more service craft and more specialised bunkering vessels.”
“Even though Covid has challenged us at times, we continue to invest in the yard’s infrastructure,” says John Taylor, Gibdock’s Operations Director. In particular, he cites a close cooperation with Wolffkran Germany/Switzerland to renew the jib of Gibdock’s number 12 crane, located on the 400-metre south mole.
“Of course, Brexit adds to the uncertainties of the day,” Beards concludes. “However, we see a successful conclusion to this – we will still be here working as hard as possible to meet the expectations of our clients’ and stakeholders as diligently as possible.”