PGMA Christens First RP-Made Greek ShipDec 5th, 2008 | By pam | Category: News
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became the godmother of the first ever Greek ship made in the Philippines, the C/S Argolikos, ordered by the Hellenic shipping conglomerate Dioryx Maritime Corp from Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines.
“C/S Argolikos shows off to the whole world the excellence of the Filipino workforce in building vessels to sail the seven seas,” President Arroyo said in her speech at the christening ceremony July 4 at the Subic Freeport Zone in Zambales province of the Philippines.
“Mabuhay ang Dioryx! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! (Long live Dioryx! Long live the Philippines!),” the President said as she pulled the ribbon that triggered the traditional champagne bottle to break at ship’s bow.
Other than being the very first Greek ship to be built in the country, President Arroyo noted that the building of the C/S Argolikos represents several firsts:
At 512,400 metric tons, and a cargo capacity of 4,360 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), 258.9 meters long, 32 meters wide, and 19 meters high, it is the largest ship ever built in the Philippines;
It is the first ship to be built in the Subic Freeport Zone by the Korean-owned Hanjin Heavy Industries, which started its operations in Subic only two years ago with a $1 billion investment;
It is the first of six ships ordered by Dioryx from Hanjin in Subic, the total cost of which is reported at about $1 billion.
It is the first container ship to be built in the Philippines, which marks the country’s dramatic entry into the booming global cargo shipping industry.
“C/S Argolikos and the other five ships ordered by Dioryx firmly puts our country into the radar screen of the Greek and global shipping industry,” noted Philippine Ambassador to Greece Rigoberto Tiglao, who was at the christening ceremony. “The Philippines will not just be some exotic place with beautiful beaches in the Pacific,” he said. “The construction of C/S Argolikos could mark the start of the Philippine ship-building industry. Remember that ship-building had been one of the engines of growth of Japan in the 1960s and Korea in the 1970s.”
(C/S Argolikos refers to a gulf in the east coast of the Greece’s Peloponnese region, with Dioryx adapting a practice of naming its managed ships with the names of Greek gulfs. )
President Arroyo at the ceremony thanked Mr. Dimitri Papadimitriou, chairman of Dioryx Maritime Corp., for his confidence that the Filipino workforce would be able to build his company’s six container ships at Subic.
The delivery of the C/S Argolikos was actually made six months ahead of schedule, President Arroyo pointed out. A twin ship ordered by Dioryx was launched 3 September, named ‘Turquoise’, and chartered by CMA CGM, the biggest container transportation and shipping company in France.
Such efficiency in delivery has been crucial in the shipping industry starting in the past few years, when the global shipping requirements have boomed so much that demand has outpaced capacity. This has resulted in drastic rise in the prices of new container ships. C/S Argolikos was ordered at a reported price of $60 million two years ago, although industry estimates say such a ship now costs easily $100 million.
Including the six ships contracted by Dioryx, 43 huge container ships have been ordered from Hanjin in Subic by shipping companies all over the world, for delivery in the next two years.
“There are three shipbuilding and ship-related establishments in Subic,” President Arroyo said in her speech. “Our vision is to develop the Clark-Subic corridor into the most competitive international service and logistics center in the region,” she said. END