TAS makes unconventional delivery to vessel owner in Singapore

On delivery: The loaded gabbage collection craft on a barge on sail to Singapore from Sibu, Sarawak, recently.

KUCHING: TAS Offshore Bhd has built and delivered five units of gabbage collection craft (GC craft) for port contract services for S$4.5mil (RM13.95mil) to their Singaporean owner.

Its wholly-owned subsidiary Tuong Aik Shipyard Sdn Bhd delivered the 20m GC crafts through an unconventional way by shipping them on a barge measuring 280ft x 80ft to Singapore late last month.

The Sarawak-based shipbuilder came up with this unique way of using barge and tugboat to transport the vessels as it is a cheaper way to do so during the Covid-19 pandemic, said TAS managing director Datuk Lau Nai Hoh.

“In this time of Covid-19 pandemic and with the current standard operating procedures (SOPs), it is very inconvenient and costly for the vessel owner to fly in their crew members to take delivery of the vessels, as the crew members have to undergo the required swab tests and quarantine besides obtaining the necessary documents from the relevant authorities.

“Thus, after due consideration, Tuong Aik Shipyard has made arrangement with the vessel owner to use barge and tugboat to deliver the five units of the craft.

“It was a tough job as a powerful 260-tonne crawler crane has to be used to lift the crafts onto the barge, and with the assistance of skilled workers, we managed to secure the crafts safely on board for the journey to the destination, ” he told StarBiz.

The latest delivery came about a month after Tuong Aik delivered one unit of 29m tugboat to its Indonesian client and one unit of 55m roro ferry last December.

Lau said Tuong Aik is expected to deliver two units of 20m flotsam retrieval catamaran craft with contract value of S$2mil, also for port contract service in Singapore, by the fourth quarter of 2021.

Also scheduled for delivery by end-2021 are two units of 26m pusher tugs worth S$4.8mil for use in the mineral mining industry in Indonesia.

Lau expects the demand for tugboats from Indonesia to be sustained as the Indonesian mineral and coal industries have greatly benefitted from the ongoing trade spat between China and Australia.

“The Indonesia Coal Mining Association has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association to facilitate the export of coal from Indonesia to China and this cooperation period lasts for three years, ” he added.

The export volume is expected to reach 200 million tonnes during the three-year period.

TAS group has switched its focus to build tugboats and other types of vessels after it terminated the shipbuilding contracts for several offshore supply vessels still under construction by contract shipyards in China last year.

The demand for offshore support vessels in the oil and gas industry has been badly hit by the low oil prices, thus affecting the sale and price of these vessels.

In the financial year ended May 31,2020, TAS group secured contracts for 12 vessels, most of them tugboats essential for coal transportation.

TAS returned to the black with a net profit of RM4.61mil in the third quarter to Feb 28,2021, compared with a loss of RM5.56mil a year ago, as revenue jumped to RM16.3mil from RM1.49mil.

The bulk of the revenue came from vessel sales to Singapore (RM11.75mil) and Indonesia (RM4.12mil).

The group attributed the earnings to profit recognised on vessel delivery and contracts on hand.

The group currently has some S$14.1mil worth on contracts on hand.

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