Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) is pleased to announce a new contract valued at €73 million Euro (A$108 million) to design and build a 109 metre high-speed vehicle passenger ferry for Fjord Line of Norway.
The all-aluminium catamaran, designed by Austal Australia, will be the 8th large high-speed commercial ferry (over 100 metres in length) to be built by the company - and confirms Austal’s position as Australia’s pre-eminent shipbuilder of large high-speed commercial craft.
Announcing the contract, Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton thanked Fjord Line Chairman, Mr Peter Frolich and Chief Executive Officer Mr Rickard Ternblom for Australia’s latest export shipbuilding contract.
“We’re very excited to be building this evolutionary new ship for Fjord Line - one of the world’s leading commercial ferry operators.
“This valuable export contract will create outstanding opportunities for our design, production and project management teams here in Australia,” Mr Singleton said.
“This significant new project also offers new export opportunities for our supply chain partners and thereby ultimately contribute to Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capability,” he added.
Austal’s latest high-speed commercial ferry will transport 1,200 passengers at up to 40 knots and features the company’s largest ever vehicle-carrying capacity; with a beam of 30.5 metres enabling 404 cars to be carried across two decks.
The new vessel encompasses several key design innovations that enhance operating performance and passenger comfort, including a new, optimised hull form that will minimise fuel consumption and wake wash when operating on the Skagerrak Sea between Hirtshals, Denmark and Kristiansand, Norway. A business class lounge for up to 184 passengers, a large (250m2) duty-free shop, two bistros, two bars and children’s play area will establish a new benchmark for on board customer experience.
Fjord Line’s latest addition will join their fleet of four commercial passenger ferries operating in the Scandinavian region following delivery from Austal’s Australian shipyard in January 2020.
With another 109-metre high-speed vehicle passenger ferry (for Molslinjen of Denmark) currently under construction at the Australian shipyard and a 56-metre high-speed passenger ferry (for FRS of Germany) under construction in the Philippines, Austal’s commercial vessel portfolio continues to expand. Pursuing a robust commercial ferry sales pipeline, at its highest level in a decade, Austal anticipates additional export orders throughout the remainder of FY2017-18.
Acknowledging the growth in Austal’s commercial vessel portfolio and the opportunities for expansion ahead, David Singleton remarked;
“We have previously indicated that the commercial ferry market is strengthening markedly and we accordingly expect further orders for vessels in the near future. We have also indicated that we are likely to expand capacity in both Henderson and in the Philippines. We have completed the first phase of that following the opening of our Hope Valley Road facility in Western Australia and will now press ahead with expansion plans to more than double the footprint of our Philippines facility although the details of this will be subject to a separate announcement. Further expansion in Henderson beyond this will depend on the outcome of the OPV tender for the Commonwealth of Australia.”