Australian Ambassador praises Australian-Filipino collaboration in local shipbuilding industry, welcomes President Aquino’s commitment to growing the industry
18 January 2013
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, HE Bill Tweddell, today highlighted Filipino shipbuilding capabilities, citing the industry in the Philippines as “world class” and an important contributor to economic activity and jobs generation. The Ambassador welcomed President Benigno Aquino III’s commitment to make it easier for companies, including from Australia, to grow the shopbuilding industry and provide employers with access to a highly-skilled Filipino workforce.
President Aquino made these comments during this week’s formal opening of the Australian Austal Philippines Shipyard Operations at the West Cebu Industrial Park in Balamban town. The new operation is Austal’s third – it has existing facilities in Western Australia and the United States.
“Australia is focused on innovation – it is this innovation that Austal has brought to Cebu – and to the Philippines. It brings cutting edge technology to help the Philippines further develop its shipbuilding and manufacturing industries. Coupled with the dedicated and skilled Philippines workforce, I am confident Austal Philippines will continue to expand and grow” Ambassador Tweddell said today.
Austal Philippines has already finished construction of one ship bound for Europe while four more ships are scheduled to be finished before the end of the year, bringing in a total of US$70 million and providing jobs to nearly 300 Filipinos. Austal has also invested an additional US$4.8 million to improve the Cebu facility.
Austal designs and constructs aluminium vessels, including passenger and freight ferries, luxury yachts, and military vessels. For its operations in Cebu, Austal committed US$15 million to develop a world-class, high technology manufacturing operation in the area, an investment that is bringing Filipino shipbuilding to the world stage.
The Philippines has grown into the fourth largest shipbuilding country in the world, with ship exports in 2011 reaching US$638 million -- a 57.9 percent increase from the previous year.
“The opening of Austal Philippines comes at a time when the long-standing relationship between the Philippines and Australia is deepening. Two-way trade is valued at approximately A$3 billion per annum, and our people to people links are stronger than ever. There are also now more than 200 Australian companies with a significant presence in the Philippines covering a range of sectors, including engineering, construction, banking, mining, BPO and education. Shipbuilding may just be among the next sunshine industries and I congratulate Cebu and the men and women of Austal Philippines for being in the thick of things and giving the industry a boost” Ambassador Tweddell added.