“We anticipate the yard to be fully operational by the end of 2023,” Dr. Abdullah Al Ahmari, IMI CEO, said. “As we move towards operational readiness, we have begun transitioning our workforce to the yard with the aim of having all our employees located there by the end of 2022.”
At this stage, IMI Is focusing efforts on capacity building through partnerships with well-established companies—including its partners—to facilitate knowledge transfer and ensure employees are equipped with the skills and technical know-how to engineer these products locally, on a par with global best practices.
Once the yard is fully operational, he anticipates being in a suitable position to begin building VLCCs and other maritime products within the complex.
“Last year, we were proud to inaugurate our very first VLCC, named ‘Rayah’, which was built for our partner Bahri by IMI and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) engineers at HHI’s shipyard in Ulsan, Korea. Saudi engineers, working with experts from HHI, gained valuable on-the-job experience and contributed to the construction of the vessel.”
In 2021, IMI’s leadership, in association with the National Maritime Academy in Jubail, delivered specialised on-the-job training in collaboration with its JV partners for more than 600 Saudi employees.
“Two hundred IMI employees underwent training at HHI’s shipyard in South Korea and Lamprell’s yard in the UAE, with an additional 425 receiving training in Saudi Arabia with Saudi Aramco, Saudi Aramco Jubail Refinery (SASREF), and Dammam Shipyard (DSY),” he said.
The yard also has more than 60 ongoing digitalisation initiatives to modernise and optimise product offerings and business infrastructure, including software-based labour; augmented, virtual and mixed reality applications; RFID and biometrics; and partnerships with tech leaders to develop an integrated data management platform.
“We aim to provide quality, reliable, and efficient maritime solutions powered by the latest technologies at internationally competitive prices to attract customers to IMI and Saudi Arabia, while delivering safer and more sustainable working practices,” he said.
Since its establishment, IMI has prioritized the formation of a number of strategic partnerships with national and international companies to enhance its localization efforts, service offering and digital infrastructure, while providing specialized training opportunities for Saudi youth and IMI employees.
“These partnerships will help drive forward our efforts as we continue to move towards full operations,” he said.
IMI was launched at The King Salman Global Maritime Industries Complex in 2017, with the participation of joint venture partners Saudi Aramco, Bahri (National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia), Hyundai Heavy Industries of Korea, and the UAE’s Lamprell. Upon completion, it will be the largest shipyard in the Gulf and among the largest in the world.
Dr. Ahmari spoke at the SMC’s first panel session, updating conference participants on progress in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 diversification programme. “Saudi Maritime Congress is an ideal platform to meet and do business with influential entities in the local maritime industry and network with investors and decision-makers from around the world,” he said.
Development of the yard has attracted keen industry attention, with evidence of progress in the Saudi maritime sector a source of debate, as economic development under Vision 2030 has been spurred in 2022 by surging oil prices in the first half of the year on the war in Ukraine.
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