CEBU CITY — Austal Philippines has recently completed Bañaderos Express, a milestone that solidifies the status of Balamban town in western Cebu as the “Shipbuilding Capital of the Philippines.”
Bañaderos Express is the largest high-speed trimaran ever built in the Philippines and second largest high-speed vessel to be constructed during the pandemic. It is also the 20th vessel Austal has completed since it set up shop in West Cebu Industrial Park (WCIP) in Balamban in 2012.
It was built for inter-island ferry service Fred.Olsen Express of the Canary Islands.
Austal Philippines President and General Manager Wayne Murray said the delivery of Bañaderos Express was a very proud moment for the Balamban-based team of 1,000 employees, who safely and efficiently constructed the 118-meter ferry throughout the pandemic.
“We are understandably very pleased to deliver such an impressive ship to Fred Olsen Express, soon after delivering Fjord FSTR for Fjord Line of Norway, earlier in 2021. Now, we continue our efforts on delivering the largest high speed ferry ever built in the Philippines, again ー the 115 metre Express 5 for Molslinjen of Denmark,” he said.
The Cebu Industrial Park Developers, Inc. (CIPDI) is gearing up for the expansion of WCIP that will see the development of 40 hectares for industrial locators. There will be 15 lots in total, ranging from one- to five-hectare areas.
“We are proud to be hosting Austal, which is renowned for designing and building world-class ships that allow for the most comfortable traveling by sea. As we celebrate this achievement with them, we are proud to soon launch the construction of our expansion that can help bring in more world-class locators to Balamban,” said Rafael Fernandez de Mesa, CIPDI President and First Vice President for the Aboitiz Integrated Economic Centers.
Construction for the expansion is set to kick off in January 2022 and scheduled to be completed by December 2023. It will allow for more industrial spaces plus a four-hectare Commercial Complex, a Central Terminal, and communal parks. New locators and businesses that will be brought in are expected to generate up to 14,000 new jobs for the municipality.
To help support locators’ manpower requirements, located nearby is the Balamban Campus of the University of San Jose-Recoletos, which offers basic education up to Senior High level, and Don Bosco Balamban Technological Center, which offers skills training programs on welding (arc and smaw), practical electricity, sewing, automotive mechanic and soon, AutoCAD.