Australian shipbuilder Incat Tasmania provides environmentally friendly, lightweight ship solutions for ferry operators, special service providers and military.
“We’ve made a conscious decision to focus on eco operations and fuel efficiency, and continue to develop a range of lightweight, environmentally friendly fuel-efficient ships carrying heavier vehicle loads than ever before and at the lowest operational costs,” says Incat’s Founder and Chairman, Robert Clifford.
The company has an extensive history in Tasmania, and has come a long way since the September 1977 launch of the first high-speed catamaran at Prince of Wales Bay in Tasmania.
Over the past 25 years, Efic has supported over 20 vessel financings for Incat, and has seen the business grow and develop over this time.
This year, Efic provided two loans to Incat Tasmania to support the delivery of two 100+ metre, high-speed, wave-piercing catamarans for European operators Virtu Ferries and Naviera Armas, with a combined contract value of approximately EUR150 million.
“Virtu Ferries is amongst the oldest, most respected and most discerning fast ferry operators in the world. They operate a variety of high-speed craft services throughout the Mediterranean and Adriatic. This vessel is intended for their year-round lifeline service between Malta and the European Union,” says Robert.
“Our vessels are well proven around the world in rough water conditions. In wanting to offer their passengers the very best in reliability and comfort, Naviera Armas sought the qualities of the wave-piercing catamaran, and even compared with their earlier Incat vessels this new generation craft for Armas will be a real step-up in terms of passenger comfort and economies of scale.”
The global ship construction industry is highly competitive and securing large contracts can add pressure to business cashflow.
“Efic’s role in providing financial support is an important part of Incat’s export business success. Australia is recognised as a world-leading manufacturer of large high-speed lightweight craft. It is a challenging industry, and would be even more so without the support of major Export Credit Agencies. Efic’s support for the construction of these new ferries has unquestionably assisted Incat in delivering these major orders,” says Robert.
Khalil Khiran, Director Corporate, Sovereign and Project Finance at Efic, managed the arrangement with Incat, “our long history with Incat is a testament to their success over the years. When working on large projects like this it is pleasing to see the impact made within the local community.”
“With a 550-strong workforce at their Hobart shipyard, Incat Tasmania is expecting to increase this to over 700 at the peak of the production process for these two vessels, making it one of the largest private sector employers in Tasmania. This is fantastic news for the region,” says Khalil.
Efic’s financial assistance has also enabled Incat to positively plan its forward order position, “With a fast ferry market that is the best it has been for the past 10 years, we are aggressively pursuing new opportunities which will provide medium to long term certainty for our growing workforce well into the mid-2020s,” says Robert.