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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Demand for port expansion drives ‘exceptionally busy’ H1 for Boskalis

Dutch dredging and engineering firm Royal Boskalis Westminster has reported an ‘exceptionally busy’ first half for 2015 driven by global demand for port expansion projects to dredge deeper channels and allow access for the latest generation of super vessels as well as the completion of the Suez Canal project.

The firm reported a 21% increase in net profit for the first half of  the year to €306.5 million from €253 million in the same period last year. This was based on revenue of  €1.57 billion, an increase of 1.6% year-on-year (y-o-y).

“We see a stable market with regard to large-scale maritime infrastructure projects,” a spokesperson for Boskalis commented. “The tender pipeline with capital dredging projects for the deepening and expansion of ports and waterways, land reclamation projects and tunnel developments is positive, and maintenance work in these markets has a strong recurring nature.

The strong demand in the first half of this year was particularly influenced by extensive work to complete the Suez canal expansion. The $8.2 billion project has involved deepening and widening of existing channels to allow for larger mega-vessels and the creation of a two lane system that allows ships to pass simultaneously.

The mega-project has been a cornerstone of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s policy as he tries to steer the country away from recent political and economic chaos that resulted following the overthrow of ex-President Morsi and was officially opened at the start of August.

“We are especially proud of the successful execution and swift realization of the Suez Canal project, which was on an unprecedented scale and had to be completed within an extremely short timeframe,” Boskalis states in a release detailing its business units’ performance.

The dredging contract for the Suez project was won by a consortium consisting of Boskalis, Van Oord, NMDC (Abu Dhabi) and Jan de Nul (Belgium) with a total contract value of $1.5 billion, of which Boskalis earned an estimated $375 million.

With the Suez expansion having opened earlier this month however Boskalis cautioned over the outlook for the second half of the year.  

“Following an exceptionally busy first half year at Dredging, fleet utilization levels will come down in the second half, partly due to postponed vessel maintenance from the first half year,” a spokesperson explained, adding that this work would “result in more expenses and less revenue”.

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