$15 million for Australian shipyard venture in Balamban town | Inquirer News

$15 million for Australian shipyard venture in Balamban town

/ 07:22 AM January 17, 2013

YESTERDAY’S opening of an Australian defense contractor’s shipyard in Balamban town, southwest Cebu highlighted the country’s growing reputation as world-class shipbuilders, President Benigno Aquino III said.

The President was he guest of honor in the opening of Austal Philippines’ shipyard facility in barangay Arpili, Balamban town located 43 kms west of Cebu City.

He said the Philippines is now the fourth largest shipbuilding country in the world.

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“In 2011, our ship exports reached $638 million,” said Aquino, adding that this is 57.9 percent higher from the previous year.

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About 45,000 Filipinos are employed by shipbuilding companies, he said.

Of this number, 250 are employed by Austal Philippines’ shipyard operations in Balamban town.

The President led the unveiling of a marker outside the Austal Philippines production facility.

In 2011, Austal identified the Philippines as its preferred location to develop a manufacturing facility in the region. That same year, the company acquired the facility in Balamban town.

“We saw the potential for creating a center of excellence in delivering world-class ships and support services for local and international markets,” said Joey Turano, Austal Philippines Shipyard Operations President and General Manager.

Austal committed US $15 million for its operations in Balamban to develop a world-class, high technology manufacturing operation in the area.

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Aquino welcomed Austal, saying the company’s presence in the country will help accelerate the growth of the shipbuilding sector in the country.

The Austal facility recently finished construction of a patrol vessel for export to the United Kingdom costing £5 million.

Four more ships are scheduled to be completed before the end of this year.

These vessels are projected to earn $70 million and generate jobs to nearly 300 Filipino workers.

Austal already invested an additional $4.8 million to improve the Balamban shipyard, Aquino said.

The President said he takes this as a sign that the company is in the country for the long haul.

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“Perhaps, one day, you will consider further expanding your operations here and hiring even more of our people,” he told Austal officials. PIA-7

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