Shipshape facility enhances opportunities

JUST 30 minutes from the Perth CBD, the Australian Marine Complex (AMC) is a centre for excellence in manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, maintenance and technology development that services the marine, defence and resources industries. It was developed to enhance the opportunities created by the clustering of industries, and is home to the largest marine industry in Australia.
According to AMC general manager marine and defence, oil and gas John O’Hare, the development of the complex was the result of two government studies. “In 1989, the Commonwealth Government produced a study called The North West Shelf – A sea of lost opportunities?: Australian industry participation in the North West Shelf project, which looked into the opportunities that didn’t arise from the North West Shelf.
“Then, in 1993, the Government undertook a study into developing what was then called Jervis Bay,” Mr O’Hare said.
“Based on those two studies, the Government made recommendations about the need for infrastructure to assist industry to compete for work in the resources industry.
“They looked at developing a world-class centre…to supply the resources, oil and gas and defence sectors…[and] the result was the AMC.”
Since opening in 2003, the complex has established international credentials for the repair, maintenance and construction of naval and commercial vessels, as well as the development of infrastructure for the fabrication and assembly of offshore oil and gas modules.
“The initial [WA and Federal Governments’] investment was $180 million in 2003, and then in late 2006, there was a further $170 million invested [by the State Government],” Mr O’Hare said.
“All of this investment by the government has played a key role in attracting [the] consecutive private sector investment that the AMC has seen.
“The initial investment has paid fo itself many times over. One of the key measures of success for the complex is to look at it now, compared to 2003, and to observe the transition from what
was basically a bare sandpit to what is now a very busy, productive worksite.” Precincts Set on the shores of Jervoise Bay’s northern and southern harbours, the AMC is connected to the Kwinana Industrial Area and the Rockingham Industrial Zone by high and wide-load access roads. The facilities at the complex provide users with specialised infrastructure and services arranged in four adjoining precincts, each with a particular service focus: fabrication, technology, shipbuilding and support industry. There are more than 150 businesses within the four precincts of the AMC.
Fabrication and the Common User Facility WA’s resources, defence and marine sectors continue to experience strong growth, with record investments in the order of $100 billion either committed to or under consideration for the next decade. To facilitate further industry participation in these major developments, the State and Federal Governments funded construction
of the AMC’s fabrication precinct.
The precinct provides world-class, multi-purpose facilities that offer exciting opportunities for businesses supplying WA’s natural resources and marine sectors. Specifically, it allows for the fabrication, assembly and load-out of pre-assembled units weighing up to 15,000t for local, national and international projects, creating an exciting range of global engineering and manufacturing options.
The precinct includes the 40-hectare Common User Facility (CUF) and the adjoining 80ha Fabricators’ Area: delivering the security and stability of the public sector with the enthusiasm, experience and professionalism of an internationallyrecognised secure facilities manager.
The CUF incorporates large, integrated fabrication and assembly areas with extensive load-out wharves available to multiple concurrent users. The facility includes: a dredged deepwater harbour; a state-of-the-art fabrication hall with 24-hour, all-weather access; a ready-to-use on-site project office, workers amenities and a warehouse; and 40ha of lay down and construction land. It also has three wharves: a load-out wharf and marine services wharf with notional capacities of 3000t and 15,000t respectively; and a newly developed marine maintenance wharf, floating dock and transfer system offering distributed services to the lay down and construction areas.
The CUF was created as part of the initial investment in developing the AMC, jointly funded by the Federal and WA Governments to assist local industry to compete in providing services for the oil and gas, resources, and marine and defence industries.
Technology
WA’s most recent Technology Park development, the technology precinct at the AMC is destined to become Australia’s leading centre for innovative research, education and technology. The
organisations within the precinct are part of one of the world’s most technologicallyadvanced and sophisticated shipbuilding, marine, engineering and fabrication centres of excellence. The ‘cluster’ design of the precinct enables innovation-driven small to medium enterprises from industry, academia and research, as well as support organisations, to prosper in an advanced, network-like environment.
Since its inception, the AMC’s technology precinct has become home to leading defence technology group Raytheon Australia, which moved part of its Systems group into new purpose-built headquarters in the precinct in early 2005. Also based within the precinct is the $21 million Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training: the ‘shopfront’ for Australian and international businesses wishing to access training associated with the marine and resources sectors. The technology precinct is also home to the state-of-the-art AMC Jakovich Centre, which provides professional business and function suites for hire to maximise commercial and networking opportunities.
The centre provides a central meeting point for representatives of industry, research organisations, education institutions and support service companies specialising in the marine, defence, oil and gas sectors. Shipbuilding
The AMC’s shipbuilding precinct is now an integral part of WA’s burgeoning shipbuilding, repair and maintenance industry. The complex leads the world in the construction of high-speed, lightweight vessels, as well as tugs and rescue, patrol, fishing, paramilitary and offshore supply vessels for local and export markets.
The shipbuilding precinct was originally developed to accommodate the state’s growing shipbuilding industry. Today, this industry is worth about $700 million per year. The precinct covers about 35ha, and is home to five primary shipbuilders and many other smaller companies.
The precinct is also home to a dedicated marine support facility, owned and operated by BAE Systems, that has significant capacity for vessel repair and refit. The facility is equipped with extensive dry-berth support infrastructure including one of Australia’s largest shiplifts, which is used extensively by the Royal Australian Navy.
The establishment of the AMC’s shipbuilding precinct and its support facilities is testament to the international recognition that WA’s shipbuilding support sectors continue to receive.
Support industry
The support industry precinct of the AMC covers 38ha and was designed with location, ease of access and affordability as its key features. It provides serviced land packaged into blocks of various sizes for use by small to medium-sized suppliers of goods and services.
The support precinct is in close proximity to the shipbuilding and fabrication precincts and the CUF, providing opportunities for companies to maintain an operating presence close to major customers. The precinct is home to some of the world’s best design, support and service companies. These attract businesses, not only in support of the local shipbuilding, defence and resources sectors’ manufacturing hub at the AMC but also export markets world-wide. These include seating specialist Beurteaux, industrial gas supplier Air Liquide and leading aluminium recreational boat builder Trailcraft. The precinct is protected by Approved Industrial Purpose design guidelines that cover a broad range of activities from paint and plastic extrusion to the manufacture of propellers.
Benefitting local industry
The AMC is subject to third-party independent management and the complex publishes rates for the use of its facilities.
Mr O’Hare said that the capacity to use the AMC on a project-by-project basis was of huge benefit to many companies. “For example, if a company is bidding for a project and it decides that it might want to use our large fabrication shed, some lay down area and a wharf at a certain time, the company would include our rates for the usage of those facilities in its bid,” he said.
“Whoever wins the bid uses the facilities for the duration of the project. What it means is that they don’t have to put in the capital expenditure for [construction of the facilities] themselves, and they aren’t carrying it on their books while they might be still trying to win other projects: we carry it for them, so to speak.
“When the project is completed successfully and the company moves its workers out of our facilities, they no longer have to pay for the use of our facilities and assets. This allows companies to be better competitors in the process of tendering for jobs.”
Mr O’Hare said that the AMC’s facilities were consistently well utilised and while not at full capacity, he described them as “very busy”.
“Last July, the Government released its local industry participation plan. That, combined with the surge in activity in the local oil and gas and mining sectors, has seen an increase in local participation and this is very evident at the AMC,” he said.
Mr O’Hare said that the oil and gas industry accounted for about 60 per cent of the AMC’s income and that although the complex supported the wider resources sector, oil and gas played a critical role in its continued success.
“We have close to $400 million worth of state government-owned infrastructure at the AMC and it’s making a difference to the oil and gas industry. It is world-class infrastructure that was designed to ensure that our local industry is well positioned to take on and deliver a diverse range of major projects,” he said.
“The complex has huge capacity to benefit the economy: we have established that its economic benefit to local industry to date is just more than $1 billion. The complex has only been going for nine years and it has undertaken a significant number of major projects in that time.
“The AMC plays a critical role in attracting major projects to WA and assisting local industry to win contracts.”

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