My how the waterfront as changed over the last couple of years. The company I founded in December 1985 with Bill Plug has now been closed by Austal due to a lack of work! The top photo is the last resting place of that company!
I was told the other day that Image was closed 2 weeks ago. We built Image up to a point where by 1998 we were recognised as being the 3rd largest aluminium shipbuilding company in Australia. It its hey day Image was turning $50,000,000 a year and employing nearly 200 people. Back then Austal was employing nearly 2,000 people in WA alone.
I am told they are now back to under 300 people and there is limited work on the horizon….a factor of the GFC and the high Aussy dollar amongst other things!
Over the last 20 years the line share of vessels you would see moving around the Henderson harbour would have been aluminium. Now since the advent of the Oil and Gas boom in our North, the style and size of vessels has changed dramatically and they are all steel vessels and all have been built offshore.
I fear that our once booming aluminium shipbuilding industry in WA is going down the same path of the UK ship building industry, where everything will have to go offshore as the cost of labour and the exchange rates simply make it unaffordable to build larger vessels here any more except for some niche vessels.
The bottom photo is of a large crane that has just been towed down from Dampier. This beast can lift a 1,000 tonne payload.
The good news though is that out of the ashes is an evolution in the form of Evolution Commercial which is my latest shipbuilding company with partner Jurien Van Rongen. We are a tight low overhead company with a lot of experience behind us, finding our own new niche in this challenging world around us at present.