UAE maintains a competitive position in ship repairing industry


Ship repair industry of UAE is one of the most elaborated in the world due to large amount of trading operations registered in the region. Due to a strategic geographic location and over 20 seaports to the Persian and Oman Gulfs, UAE is attractive destination for repair and maintenance of ships and boats. With a long tradition in boat building and central location on one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, United Arab Emirates remains a serious player in the ship repair industry. In this article emirates will be compared one by one in order to identify repair facilities in each of them and determine the most advanced ones.

Dubai remains excellent place for ship repair business because of the supporting infrastructure behind it. Attractiveness for vessels owners is determined by its highly competitive repair time and input costs. Other reason is Dubai’s located at the centre of the GCC region, where 40% of the world’s oil reserves and a quarter of its gas reserves located, thus the emirate generates significant business in repairing supply vessels and associated infrastructure for the oilfield services industry.                                      

Drydocks World is one of the leading shipyard facilities not only in the region, but in the world and is gaining international recognition worldwide for its repair projects. It has world's largest and most modern facility between Europe and the Far East. On an average it handles 350 vessels a year, mostly ultra and very large crude carriers. It also has a floating dock of 205m x 32m which can allocate additional vessels. Drydocks World in one shipyard only has carried out repair work on more than 750 vessels, 150 rigs.

Competitive facilities

Goltens is other significant independent leading provider of ship repair solutions in Dubai with global brand name for the development of the world’s foremost ship repair facilities. Goltens facilities are a hub for ship repair and manufacturing, as well as workshop units for vessels up to 130 m. The shipyard specialises in diesel and in situ repair and maintenance services for the marine, offshore and stationary power markets.

Grandweld Shipyards has one of the largest covered shipyards in the region for repairs and manufacturing, that insure high welding quality in any weather conditions. Moreover, shipyard offers afloat repairs from its facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah for repair, refit and conversion for all types of marine vessels up to 120 m, 6000 t.

Next Emirate is Sharjah with shipyard Damen Albwardy with all major trades in-house they are able to repair steel, aluminium, mechanical, carpentry, blasting, painting, hydraulic and electric repairs mainly carried out by own staff.  In Sharjah is conveniently located with dry docking unrestricted access to the sea and ideally positioned for easy access to all seven Emirates as well as providing connections to neighbouring Gulf States closer to the Straits of Hormuz. Drydocking is offered for vessels up to 130 x 30 metres in size. Moreover apart from traditional ship repair, company develops oil and gas business line focus on repairs and conversion of rigs, complex offshore vessels, etc.

Ras Al Khaimah has various moderate repair facilities, one of the most remarkable of them is Global Shipyard is located at Al-Jazeera Port, Ras Al Khaimah. The yard is able to allocate vessels for both scheduled maintenance and damaged repair or planned conversion jobs, have both drydocking and covered facilities.

The capital Emirate of Abu Dhabi has various repair facilities as well. Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) is engaged in repairing and upgrading both commercial and naval vessels. Moreover, its floating dry dock allows to allocate vessels up to 180 metres in length, almost the length of two football pitches, and 30 metres wide.

Ali & Sons Marine Engineering Factory is a relatively young yard in Abu Dhabi having

 fabrication, construction, and ship repair facilities, spread over a land area of over 280,000 sqm with a water front of over 545 m. Apart from traditional ship repair, the yard is actively involved in oil and gas marine sector in rig refurbishments and repairing.

Towards the development of the industry

All shipyards in the United Arab Emirates support repair of vessels and workboats include tugs, ferries, supply vessels; police, fire, patrol, pilot, rescue and oil spill boats; along with dredgers, barges and floating cranes. Roughly over two thousand vessels estimated of being docked or repaired in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has the highest number of ship repair companies in the region. This fact is making the country of the most attractive destination for vessels owners for planned maintenance or emergency repairs. 

These features are also drawing large international players to the local market.  Innovation will be the key driver of the UAE’s economic growth, especially in the marine sector and in repairing in particular, where local shipyards are competing and cooperating with big international brands for successful delivery of repair projects. Majority of the shipyards in UAE can receive small and medium size vessels up to 130 m, which grows the competition among the players. However, big vessels VLCC and ULCC type for example can be repaired only in Dubai.

Shipyards in the United Arab Emirates are definitely accelerating the development of the industry. New investments and new development opportunities are prepared for most types of vessels.  This is giving the UAE a stronger edge compared with the region. The neighbouring countries still have a long way to go in developing their infrastructure.  Emirate of Dubai, followed by Abu Dhabi and after Sharjah, others like Ajman and  Ras Al Khaimah must accelerate their invasions in this area to keep the major positions in the region for ship repair business.