The Canary Islands – Starting from 2023, the Canary Islands will have a new infrastructure, a dry dock attached to the Astican East Pier for naval repair in the Puerto de la Luz de Las Palmas. Astican Dry Dock, the company carrying out the project and operating within the framework of the Canary Islands Special Zone (ZEC), foresees an initial investment of 35 million euros and estimates that the current number of jobs in the naval sector could double in Las Palmas.
– What project will Astican Dry Dock S.L launch under the fiscal regime of the ZEC?
The project is a dry dock with an original construction design, including large interior dimensions enabling work on vessels measuring up to 320 meters long by 46 meters beam. This space aims to meet the needs of the flourishing international cruise market and, in particular, in the islands, as proved over time. Of course it will also store other types of ships that, either because of their size or because of their weight, cannot be docked in our current system known as syncrolift (a system for lifting boats out of the water for maintenance or repair).
– What are the initial investment and employment forecasts of this company?
The initial investment planned by the company is around 35 million euros. As far as strategies within the framework of the ZEC are concerned, the new dock could be a pole of attraction for specialized companies that want to establish themselves in the port. The dock will thus provide a technical response for the repairs of very specific naval equipment, since these vessels are not catered for by the local industry in place. We believe that the current number of jobs in the naval sector of Las Palmas could double.
– What determines the start-up of this company constituted by 100% local capital?
The need to meet the demand of a potential market of great value and, which until now, due to the dimensions of our docking system, could not be met. Because of the current lack of infrastructure, these units are forced to seek other areas to repair their vessels, therefore, thanks to this new dock, we will enter into competition. In addition, the new dock will ensure that the present grant to stay for the Astican facilities will be extended for an additional 25 years.
– Within the naval sector, what business segment is intended to be covered by this new infrastructure?
Services will be provided to several business segments; however, the most important segment is cruise ships. To date, Astican has provided ground services and repairs to a limited number of vessels in this sector: the smaller ones. With the new dock, large cruise ships that we see every week on the wharfs of the islands can also benefit from this service.
Another important sector is the offshore vessels for laying cables or pipelines, construction vessels for installation of wind farms, etc. They are usually very heavy ships of such dimensions that they cannot docked in our syncrolift.
Finally, we have the category of ships known as panamax, which respond to specific dimensions and represent the highest percentage of vessels currently in operation and that are undoubtedly perfect candidates for the new dock.
What will it mean for the Canary Islands to have a dry dock in Puerto de la Luz, the main port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria?
In our opinion, there are many benefits. It will undoubtedly be an attraction for ships of these dimensions reaching the port, with the collateral benefits they bring to the port and the city. It will be a nexus for job creation, not only for the shipyard industry but also for the auxiliary industry that surrounds all shipyards. It will entail investment in new machinery, technology and training of specialists for their management.
– What are the company’s short and medium term goals?
With the new dock, our aim is to consolidate ourselves as leaders in the Atlantic in the naval repair sector, providing space for the auxiliary industry and helping it in its development, adaptation and growth in the face of new challenges to make the port of Las Palmas a world reference for naval repair.
– What will make you different from your competitors: Cadiz and Portugal?
Our geographical location, together with the exceptional climate of the islands, will allow us to enter into direct competition in a market niche for which, due to the size of its units, we could not enter before. The Canary Islands boast an exceptional geographical location as a crossroads of the North-South and East-West navigation routes where thousands of ships sail every year.
What’s more, most of our current clients have fleets which include vessels that can be docked in our syncrolift, and others that exceed its capacity. Thanks to the new dock, all the vessels of a fleet whatever their type, can be docked here and our clients will not have to go to other shipyards, as I mentioned before, for their ships of greater capacity.
Finally, as the cruise market is a fundamental objective of the new dock, it is important to highlight that Puerto de La Luz is the port of departure for many cruises. Therefore, this dock will make all repairs easier, whether prior to the departure, during or after the cruise (or after the cruise season).
How are the building works evolving?
The different phases are being fulfilled within the margins and flexibility considered from the beginning. A project of this magnitude requires many studies and permits from the Administration, which, as I say, were taken into account at the outset of the first phases.
-When will the dock be operational?
In principle, if everything goes as it has up to now and there are no delays, it should start operating by mid-2023.
-What billing information does the company handle with this business operation?
The estimated annual turnover should be around 25 million euros with a total induced effect on the local economy of 3 times that figure.
-Will this entity create synergies with other companies in the naval sector?
the local economy mainly due to how the productive structure of this sector is organized. Astican would not exist without the auxiliary industry, nor would the auxiliary industry exist without Astican. So, will there be synergies with companies in the naval sector? Yes, of course. Astican has to be a growth motor for the local industry with which it has always collaborated and helped in its development.
Source: Astican/ Joaquín Andrés Bosqued/ Head of Business Development and Offshore BD and Offshore Market Manager