Page 16 - Malaysia Marine & Offshore Industries Directory 2020/2021
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                 MALAYSIA MARINE & OFFSHORE INDUSTRIES DIRECTORY 2020/2021 EDITORIAL
 indicate a rise in the number of ships operating in Malaysian waters, local shipyards are still unable to capture the repair market of foreign ships whose owners prefer to dock in Singapore or Indonesia. The authors suggest that slower turnaround is the main reason for this and recommend an upgrade of shipyard facilities to capture the international market.
The authors also discovered that the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia is equipped with a docking capacity of 300 to 10,000 Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT), which is suitable for small and medium-sized vessels, but the shipyards in the east coast and East Malaysia lack this facility. With 60 of the over 100 shipyards in the country located in Sarawak, East Malaysia can potentially become a regional SBSR hub, provided the geographical issues of shallow rivers and strong currents can be overcome.
Despite problems, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is confident that the long-term prospects of the industry is bright and can be sustained with: the development of new competencies, the formation of strategic partnerships with international and regional players, and the adoption of Industry 4.0 and digital technology.
The adoption of Industry 4.0 in particular has been singled out. The term refers to the Fourth Industrial Revolution related to automation and data exchange in manufacturing. It is driven by the digital revolution and the Internet of Things. With most industries being transformed by Industry 4.0, the government has indicated that all SBSR industry policies must be adjusted accordingly to remain competitive in the global arena.
MIGHT echoes these sentiments and agrees that the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, 3D Design and 3D Printing will create new opportunities in the SBSR industry, especially for local players, through job creation, skill strengthening, supplier enhancement and local enterprise development.
One area that the government feels would give the SBSR industry an edge over the competition is design capability. According to MITI, the lack of local capabilities in ship and marine design has led to the dependency on foreign suppliers, which translates into a loss of market opportunities. Therefore, the initiative was taken to establish the Asia Marine Design Centre (AMDeC) at Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), a joint effort with the Technology Depository Agency (TDA) under the Ministry of Finance.
The oil and gas industry is one of the major driving forces of the local SBSR industry. During peak oil seasons, local shipyards diversify into offshore engineering and fabrication. But when oil prices fall – as they did due to the Saudi Arabia and Russia price war and the COVID-19 pandemic – these shipyards, their employees and support services are the most affected.
The Malaysia Shipowners’ Association (MASA), for one, is very thankful for the assistance rendered by the government during the lockdown. “We have not seen this before. It was unprecedented and it was difficult to keep ourselves afloat,” MASA Chairman Datuk Abdul Hak Md Amin said. “But I laud the government as it has done a tremendous effort with the stimulus packages and the moratoriums.”
With the easing of the lockdowns in most countries, he looks forward to an improvement in the industry. “We hope the upward trend of the crude oil price will continue to the level before the crisis. With the higher oil price, the offshore activities will be reactivated and the demand for the support services will improve.”
There is plenty of room for the industry to grow, particularly in ship design, parts and components manufacturing, system integration and other marine equipment production. With Malaysia’s strategic location along the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea, two of the world’s busiest sea lanes, there is much potential in the country’s SBSR industry that cannot be ignored. Its trajectory remains full speed ahead.
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