Abu Dhabi-based National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) is investing heavily to prepare the business for long term growth. The company has confirmed an order with Royal IHC of the Netherlands for a 6000 cu m trailing suction hoper dredger. Currently at the design stage, the newbuilding is due for delivery in March 2018, when it will significantly enhance NMDC’s capabilities in global markets.
The company has also announced a major upgrade of three of its existing cutter suction dredgers, Al Sadr, Al Mirfa and Kattouf, also in partnership with Royal IHC. NMDC has opted to install latest generation automation systems on these ships to enhance the efficiency of its operations and has also requested the installation of a dredge fleet monitoring system (DFMS). NMDC will be one of the first customers to benefit from this feature, which enables monitoring of the vessels’ dredging performance from offices onshore.
Preparations for these upgrades are well underway, and are expected to be undertaken in 2017, at times convenient for these dredgers’ operating schedules. The equipment and systems will be prepared in Holland, by Royal IHC, but will be installed on the vessels while they are docked in Abu Dhabi. Each upgrade project is expected to take 2 months to complete.
NDMC is currently working on a number of major projects, and has recently deployed two cutter suction dredgers, Al Sadr and Umm El Zemoul, to Khalifa port in Abu Dhabi, to carry out work in preparation for the container terminal expansion. This will add 1000 m of quay wall to the port and deepen its main channel and basin to 18 m from the current 16 m. NMDC has recently started work on the dredging of the channels and the transfer of dredged material to build up the new quay wall. It is estimated that NMDC will dredge around 10.5 million cu m of material for the Khalifa Port project, with the two dredgers likely to be onsite until January 2018.
NMDC also has secured a major contract to assist with the building of the Gujarat LNG terminal in India. Design work is being finalised and precise deployment details for NDMC dredgers are expected to be finalised in early December.
Meanwhile, NMDC has an ongoing significant project in Bahrain, building a new reclaimed land area for residential housing, and last year has completed one of the world’s mega dredging in the New Suez Canal expansion project. Other projects at present include a contract at Egypt’s Sokhna port on the Red Sea and building a port for luxury yachts in Abu Dhabi.
NMDC CEO, Eng. Yasser Nasr Zaghloul says, ”We have been busy this year, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We know we need to secure more work, so we are actively pursuing a number of other projects.”
Eng. Zahgloul cautions that the next 12 months will not be easy, but that he is already planning to make good use of the time ahead. He adds,”The market is uncertain for 2017, so we have to take the opportunity to make the company more resilient, flexible and efficient, and we are working already on initiatives to achieve that. This will allow us to better meet the challenging circumstances that lie before us.”
NMDC, under Eng Zaghloul’s leadership, has become a global player in the market place, and he aims to continue that pathway. He concludes, ”We know next year will be difficult, but we are taking steps to think longer term and position NMDC so that it can take advantage pf more promising trends worldwide in 2018. We have to prepare for the next phase.”