The Western Shipyard Group of Companies (WSY) has turned a new page in its history with the implementation of a strategic plan, which was first drawn up 25 years ago, to enable the Group of the Companies to carry out repairs to the Panamax-, Post Panamax-, and Aframax-type vessels. The first floating dock, which has been designed specifically for this purpose, has a carrying capacity of 33,000 tons, is the largest of its kind in the Baltic States, has already been placed in its permanent location, ready to accept the first ship for repair as soon as the final preparations have been completed.
Mr Arnoldas Šileika, CEO of WSY Group of Companies, emphasised that to turn the plan concerning the development of the Panamax-, Post Panamax- and Aframax-type vessel repair capacities in Klaipėda into reality, required an enormous amount of hard work and dedication. At last, the Company is able to open the door to an entirely new market, offering much greater opportunities. After the completion of the first phase of the Malkų Bay Infrastructure Development Project, the ship repair capacities of WSY Group of Companies will be considerably increased and will significantly contribute to the sales growth of the Group of Companies, which is very important during the global economy’s emerging economic slowdown.
‘The completion of this phase of the Malkų Bay Infrastructure Development Project is a historical and joyful occasion. The activities of the WSY Group of Companies will reach an entirely new level, allowing us to compete on an equal footing with the largest ship repair companies in Western Europe. Although we have invested 100 million EUR in the technology and production development over the past three years in order to achieve this goal, it would not have been possible to celebrate this milestone without the contribution of the Ministry of Transport and Communications and Klaipėda State Seaport Authority. This project is undoubtedly a great example of a public-private partnership, and now together we can look forward to the return on the investment. We forecast that our ship repair capacities will increase considerably following the increase in production volume, and several hundred new jobs will be created. Additional taxes will therefore be generated for the State from incoming ships. As a result, new added value will be created for our customers, the Company itself, Klaipėda Port, the City and Lithuania as a whole,’ added Mr Šileika.
‘The Malkų Bay Infrastructure Development Project is one of the priority projects of the Port Authority at the moment, and we are pleased that the companies operating in the bay will soon be able to enjoy completely different conditions for the development of their activities. The dredging of the Malkų Bay water area to a depth of 14.5m has been completed, and a number of quays used by companies operating in this bay are currently being reconstructed. Today, we are proud that having the capacity to accept large ships for repairs, Western Shipyard is able to compete with the largest Western European companies and to represent the Klaipėda Port and Lithuania as a strong player in the ship repair and shipbuilding market,’ said Mr Algis Latakas, Director General of the State Enterprise Klaipėda State Seaport Authority.
This will not be the only investment into Malkų Bay to be made by the Klaipėda State Seaport Authority. The focus now will be on the quays. After the renovation of quays 135 and 136, the first phase of reconstruction of the quays leased by the company will be completed. The second phase, the aim of which is to develop and improve the navigation conditions in Malkų Bay, needs to be implemented as well. It will start with the dismantling of quays 133 and 134 and then 131-132, and will involve the extension and reconstruction of quays 129 and130. Mr Šileika noted that the quays in the company’s area are the ones that currently raise the most questions.
He continued by emphasising, ‘The shipyard was built more than half a century ago, therefore, the existing leased infrastructure is worn out and no longer meets the trends and needs of modern shipping. This limits the possibilities concerning the use of the company’s technological potential, as well as ship repair and stevedoring capabilities. The implementation of the second phase of the reconstruction of the quays used by the company will mark the completion of the Malkų Bay Development Project. As a result, the conditions for the port companies based there, and for the navigation in the water area, will have been improved creating the possibility for vessels up to 300 metres in length to turn around. We hope that through our joint efforts, the solutions that would justify the necessary investments will be found, and the return to the state from ship repair and shipbuilding activities will be properly assessed.’