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Austal Philippines completes 20th world-class ship at West Cebu Industrial Park

Press Release

October 12, 2021

Cements Balamban’s position as ‘Shipbuilding Capital of the Philippines’ as WCIP gears up for expansion

Austal Philippines has delivered Bañaderos Express (Austal Hull 395), an Austal Auto Express 118 high-speed trimaran ferry, to Fred. Olsen Express of the Canary Islands. [Image courtesy of Austal Philippines]

Global shipbuilder Austal has recently completed Bañaderos Express, the largest high-speed trimaran ever built in the Philippines and second largest high-speed vessel to be constructed during the pandemic. Bañaderos Express is also the 20th vessel Austal has completed since it set up shop in West Cebu Industrial Park (WCIP) in Balamban, Cebu in 2012. It was built for inter-island ferry service Fred. Olsen Express of the Canary Islands.

Austal Philippines President and General Manager Wayne Murray said the delivery of Bañaderos Express was a very proud moment for the Balamban-based team of 1,000 employees, who safely and efficiently constructed the 118 metre ferry throughout the pandemic. 

“We are understandably very pleased to deliver such an impressive ship to Fred Olsen Express, soon after delivering Fjord FSTR for Fjord Line of Norway, earlier in 2021. Now, we continue our efforts on delivering the largest high speed ferry ever built in the Philippines, again ー the 115 metre Express 5 for Molslinjen of Denmark. Austal Philippines is not only delivering world-class ships for customers around the world, but we’re developing Filipino shipbuilding capability, right here in Balamban. We are indeed very grateful for the continued support of the West Cebu Industrial Park and look forward to the facilities’ expansion that will create even more opportunities for local businesses to join the Filipino shipbuilding industry.”

– Austal Philippines President and General Manager Wayne Murray

The milestone further strengthens Balamban’s position as ‘Shipbuilding Capital of the Philippines,’ as Cebu Industrial Park Developers, Inc. (CIPDI) is gearing up for the expansion of WCIP that will see the development of 40 hectares for industrial locators. There will be 15 lots in total, ranging from one- to five-hectare areas.

“We are proud to be hosting Austal, which is renowned for designing and building world-class ships that allow for the most comfortable traveling by sea. As we celebrate this achievement with them, we are proud to soon launch the construction of our expansion that can help bring in more world-class locators to Balamban.”

– Rafael Fernandez de Mesa, CIPDI President and First Vice President for the Aboitiz Integrated Economic Centers

“We are excited to fulfill our vision to develop WCIP into a pioneer of industrial-anchored townships on the west coast of Cebu, enabling businesses and the local community to thrive,” he added.

Construction for the expansion is set to kick off in January 2022 and scheduled to be completed by December 2023. It will allow for more industrial spaces plus a four-hectare Commercial Complex, a Central Terminal, and communal parks. New locators and businesses that will be brought in are expected to generate up to 14,000 new jobs for the municipality.

With the expanded industrial zone and additional amenities, CIPDI expects to attract a more varied mix of locators into WCIP, including light and medium manufacturing companies. The company has started taking reservations for the upcoming inventory, and has already secured new locators.

Currently, WCIP is a 540-hectare mixed-use estate anchored by a 283-hectare Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) registered zone that has complementary commercial, institutional, and residential components. The Estate hosts 11 locators from medium to heavy industries, some of which are the biggest shipbuilding firms in the world. WCIP’s industrial locators and commercial tenants currently employ a total of 14,000 Filipinos.

The Estate is strategically located in the west side of Cebu, known to be a major industrial belt adjacent to various access points. It is accessible by land via the Transcentral Highway and South Coastal Road via Naga City from the province’s capital, as well as by sea through a private shipping port for common logistics support.

To help support locators’ manpower requirements, located nearby is the Balamban Campus of the University of San Jose-Recoletos, which offers basic education up to Senior High level, and Don Bosco Balamban Technological Center, which offers skills training programs on welding (arc and smaw), practical electricity, sewing, automotive mechanic and soon, AutoCAD.

Like other Aboitiz Integrated Economic Centers namely LIMA Estate in Batangas and Mactan Economic Zone 2 in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, WCIP is thoughtfully planned and masterfully designed to ensure a vibrant and productive township lifestyle. It is well-supported by Aboitiz Group affiliates which include Balamban Enerzone for power, Aboitiz InfraCapital for water, and Aboitiz Construction for building requirements.

In 1992, Balamban, Cebu was a simple coastal town which transformed into a first-class municipality when CIPDI began operations in the area to develop WCIP.

The initial success of WCIP enabled the estate to grow from 202 to 540 hectares. The expansion hopes to continue WCIP’s growth story and turn Balamban into a vibrant city.

For more information on WCIP’s new industrial lot offerings, please email sales.leasing@aboitiz.com.

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