Eisa Shipyard to Construct 4 Vessels under Brazil's 'Promef'

Transpetro, the Eisa Shipyard, and the National Development Bank (BNDES) signed, on March 31, the financing contracts for the construction of four Panamax-type vessels under the Fleet Modernization and Expansion Program (Promef). After the signatures, Eisa will start executing the contracts, worth a global amount of R$856 million and for the construction of four vessels, next week.

The first Panamax, with 70,000 tons of deadweight and capacity for 500,000 barrels, is slated for delivery by late 2012. The remaining vessels are scheduled for delivery throughout 2013. Four thousand new direct jobs are expected to be created during vessel construction.

In the Promef, this is the third shipyard to establish the efficacy of its contracts, allowing for the release of funds. The Atlântico Sul Shipyard (Suape, Pernambuco) reached this stage in 15 vessels contracted with Transpetro, while the Mauá Shipyard (Niterói, Rio), in another four.

The signing of the financing contracts took place in the same week that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva launched the second phase of the Growth Acceleration Program (GAP), which prioritizes funding for vessel assembly and modernization, in addition to for the construction and expansion of domestic shipyards.

The Promef's basic premise is the manufacturing of vessels in Brazil, with 65% domestic content (first phase), 70% (second phase), and ultimately achieving international shipyard competitiveness after the learning curve has been reached.

The Promef -- which revitalized the Brazilian naval industry -- has already generated 15,000 direct jobs in Brazil, a number that is expected to grow 40,000. The program, launched in 2004, provides for the construction of 49 vessels, adding four million deadweight tons of maritime shipping. Contracts have already been signed for the construction of 33 vessels, the construction work for which is worth a total of $3.9 billion. The two first Promef vessels will set sail in the first half of this year, one of which a Suezmax vessel from the Atlântico Sul Shipyard, and the other a products ship from the Mauá Shipyard.

With the Transpetro program, Brazil already has the fifth largest oil tanker order portfolio in the world. The scale generated by the Promef attracted new investors to the naval sector, has spurred the ship part industry, and is driving the construction of repair shipyards in Brazil.