Major cruise ship repairer, Grand Bahama Shipyard, is expanding its operation, to help regain its position as the world’s largest cruise shiprepair facility.
The shipyard, together with stakeholders Royal Caribbean Group and Carnival Corp, recently received approval to proceed with an expansion project that is estimated to bring billions of dollars in economic impact to Grand Bahama’s economy over the next 25 years.
The $600 mill upgrade project includes the construction, delivery to Freeport (Bahamas), and commissioning of two floating docks that will allow the shipyard to service the entire range of cruise ships in operation and under construction, as well as much of the world’s commercial shipping fleet.
Bahamian Prime Minister, the Hon Philip Davis KC, hailed the expansion project as “a new and promising chapter in the story of Grand Bahama.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, the Hon I Chester Cooper, said: “The timing of the Grand Bahama Shipyard expansion project coincides beautifully with our efforts to revitalise Grand Bahama’s tourism industry.
“This project is just the impetus that Grand Bahama needs to further boost the island’s economic growth. It is a strong show of confidence that Grand Bahama Shipyard is establishing the world’s largest shiprepair facility in the Bahamas,” he said.
Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon Ginger Moxey, added, “The $600 mill transformation of Grand Bahama Shipyard marks a monumental investment for Grand Bahama. The shipyard has always been an important contributor to Grand Bahama’s economy, and this ambitious project will continue the revitalisation of our local economy.
“As the shipyard undergoes this remarkable evolution, it will serve as a beacon of progress, bringing jobs, entrepreneurial spin-off opportunities and a renewed sense of pride to the people of Grand Bahama. Together, we embark on a journey towards a brighter and more prosperous future,” he said.
Already the largest private non-tourism employer in The Bahamas, the expanded shipyard operations will create a significant economic boost to Grand Bahama, with opportunities for Bahamians, local businesses, and contractors, including hundreds of full-time jobs at the shipyard, once it is in full operation.
“For half a century, we have worked side-by-side with The Bahamas and Bahamian businesses and contributed to the growth of the Bahamian economy, while delivering unforgettable cruise vacations to millions of people,” said Josh Weinstein, Carnival Corp’s CEO and Chief Climate Officer.
“The success of our enduring partnership is built on our shared conviction that people must always be at the forefront of our thinking. That mindset is evident in the Grand Bahama Shipyard transformation project, which invests significantly in local businesses, creates jobs and contributes to a legacy of economic vitality in the country,” he said.
“For more than 50 years we have partnered with The Bahamas to deliver exceptional vacations to millions of guests and create opportunities for local Bahamian communities,” said Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO.
“We are proud to expand our longstanding partnership and see establishing Grand Bahama as a premier maritime destination for repair and revitalisation of all kinds of vessels, as a project that will drive economic growth for the Bahamian Industry and create a positive impact for the people of The Bahamas for generations to come,” he said.
Sarah St George, acting Chairman of Grand Bahama Port Authority, added: “We join our partners in celebrating this historic achievement and congratulate Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Group for their commitment to Grand Bahama and Grand Bahama Shipyard. We also thank the Government for their close collaboration on this transformational project.
“For the past four years, re-establishing Grand Bahama Shipyard as a premier global shiprepair facility has been the single-minded focus of all parties. We’re tremendously excited for this huge expansion,” she said.
The two new floating drydocks are under construction at CSSC Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding in Qingdao, China, with expected deliveries in 2025 and 2026, respectively.
Once completed, they will be among the largest floating docks in the Western Hemisphere – including a mega dock that will have the largest lifting capacity in the world – capable of servicing all existing and currently planned cruise ships worldwide, as well as a broad range of other vessels.
In addition to new floating drydocks, the project includes supporting marine works and infrastructure construction in Grand Bahama, which is set to begin in the last quarter of this year for completion in 2025.
In addition, the shipyard is expanding its apprenticeship programme, with the aim of having 16-20 new apprentices per year.
Designed to develop needed technical skills for the shipyard, the scheme will also expand access to well-paying, long-term career opportunities at the shipyard and other industrial employers.
The four-year apprentice scheme will be further enhanced through partnerships with technical colleges. Similar programmes in the past proved successful in helping to develop and train Bahamians for the marine trade workforce.