Marcos bullish on new era of shipbuilding in Philippines

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos bullish on new era of shipbuilding in Philippines
President Marcos joins officials of global firm Cerberus and shipbuilder HD Hyundai following the signing of a partnership deal at Malacañang yesterday. With them are Ambassadors MaryKay Carlson of the US and Lee Sang-Hwa of South Korea (left, front row).
Krizjohn Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos expressed optimism yesterday that the investments to be generated by the partnership of global firm Cerberus and shipbuilder Hyundai would enhance Subic’s position as a “hotspot” for economic activity as he expressed hope that it will contribute to the attainment of the dreams of Filipinos.

Speaking during the announcement of the partnership between the two companies at Malacañang, Marcos said the Subic Freeport Zone is among the most developed and sought-after investment areas, but it can be greater than what it is with the right investment, innovative projects and approach.

“The investments that will be created hereafter are especially beneficial to Subic because these will strengthen the Freeport area’s vital role as a hotspot for industrial, commercial and other economic activities,” the President said.

Marcos said the initiative of Cerberus and HG Hyundai would allow the Philippines to have a “fresh start” and a “strong foundation” in realizing its vision to be among the largest and most consequential shipbuilders in the world.

“We have established our position as the largest source of competent and able seafarers in the world. The next logical step for us is to ensure that the ships run by Filipinos can also be made by Filipinos,” the Chief Executive said.

“As HG Hyundai is recognized as one of the largest producers of ships in the world, we look forward to the opportunity to usher in a new era of shipbuilding in the country.”

Marcos pointed out that the Philippines was the seventh-largest shipbuilder in the world in 2022, contributing almost 400,000 gross tons of newly built sea and ocean-going vessels.

Noting that great ambitions like the partnership require hard work, dedication and perseverance, Marcos urged the two companies to dedicate the work “not just for the fulfillment of our grand dream for the development of our country, but also for the realization of the dreams of every ordinary Filipino.”

“It is about the ambitious dreams of grounded individuals like ourselves, always eager to take on the challenge and come up with the next big idea that will change the industry and the entire nation,” he added.

Details of the deal between Cerberus and HG Hyundai have not been disclosed.
In a meeting with Marcos last year, officials of Cerberus, the company that acquired Subic shipyard in 2022, said they are planning to invest more in the Philippines.

Three years before Cerberus’ acquisition, South Korean company Hanjin, which began operating its shipyard in Subic Bay in 2006, declared bankruptcy, displacing about 30,000 workers.
According to a Presidential Communications Office (PCO) statement released last year, Cerberus had invested $40 million to make the shipyard operational again. Hyundai, the PCO said, had expressed interest in using two drydocks in Subic for shipbuilding which, officials said, could create 5,000 to 15,000 jobs.
“The entry of Hyundai and Subcomm in Subic is seen to create much needed economic activity in Subic that could also benefit downstream industries in the area,” the agency added.
The PCO statement said Cerberus wanted to ensure diverse economic activity by having multiple companies engaged in various businesses. The firm also sought to propose to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority the conversion of the Subic airport into a cargo and logistics hub, the government’s communication arm said.

The US-based private equity firm is also eyeing investments in the country’s semiconductor and energy sectors, it added.

Marcos said Cerberus has been “hard at work” to revitalize the Aguila Subic Shipyard since its acquisition of the facility two years ago.

He added that the company has attracted other tenants, including Subcomm, the world’s leading subsea cable company, and V2X, a global logistics corporation.

The US-based company has also worked closely with the Philippine Navy while establishing a world-class operating base, the President added.

Marcos said Hyundai’s investment would open new doors for the Philippine offshore wind industry, bring maritime manufacturing back to Subic and “restore the glory days of shipbuilding to our shores.”

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