Goltens Dubai and Norway-based Brødrene Aa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the intention of marketing high-speed ferries and special purpose vessels built in carbon-fibre composite in the Middle East. If all goes to plan during the 12-month MOU, the companies will set up a joint business venture to promote and market these vessels, commercially produce and/or outfit ferries and vessels in the region.
A small but sophisticated builder of high-speed ferry boats and special purpose vessels, Brødrene Aa is looking to grow internationally and seeks sales, service and outfitting support. Goltens’ global network, Middle East market know-how, fully established workshops and access to supply chain structures makes the companies a perfect match for one another. “We have a great belief in Goltens as a partner in order to offer passengers and shipowners increased benefits in this new generation of vessels,” says Brødrene Aa Managing Director Tor Aa.
“One of the largest challenges for shipbuilders is to complete vessels on time. In particular, the last 5% of each vessel is a great challenge both with regards to time and technicalities. Putting complicated mechanical and machinery systems into place and into operation without problems is our strength,” said Goltens United Arab Emirates Managing Director Juerg Bartlome. “Given the way our areas of expertise complement one another, the agreement would put Goltens Dubai and Brødrene Aa in the position of delivering a turnkey project from the building of a hull to the total outfitting, marketing, services and after-sales of the vessel in the Middle East region.”
Goltens Dubai has been interested in adding vessel building to its repair, service and outfitting offerings for some time, but needed to find the right partner and product to go forward with. They feel they’ve found it in Brødrene Aa. “In addition to their engineering know-how, capability, capacity and project management experience, we are also attracted to the way Brødrene Aa builds vessels. Their carbon-fibre production is not only more environment friendly than aluminium, but also emphasises flexibility, strength, superior fuel savings and lightweight design. The end result is vessels with reduced upkeep and ease of repair,” Bartlome said.
Brødrene Aa’s state-of-the-art solutions and ability to construct vessels that can sustain inclement conditions is on full display in recent project such as the Øyvakt monohull ambulance vessel. Øyvakt serves almost the entire Norwegian coastal strip between Kristiansund and Trondheim, which is exposed to harsh weather on a regular basis. While the route is challenging, Øyvakt’s navigation and manoeuvring qualities are ready to meet the obstacles along the way. Another example is the passenger catamaran Tidebaronen, which was just delivered to Tide Sjø and serves a high-frequency passenger route in the Oslo Fjord. This catamaran model has proven to be very profitable for shipowners.
Though the ship hulls for this cooperation will initially be built in Norway, Goltens’ technical capability, facilities and workforce in the Middle East means that some vessel production could take place locally down the line as well. “We see great opportunities for high-speed ferries and special-purpose vessels in the United Arab Emirates especially, but in the region as a whole,” Bartlome says. “Brødrene Aa’s ability to build vessels for harsh weather as well also gives us the possibility of expanding the geographic boundaries of the deal in the future if it makes financial sense.”