Photo: GMF Launch; Image by Pelagic Partners

IMI champions $1.2 billion Global Maritime Fund, builds partnerships and know-how for full operations

International Maritime Industries (IMI), the largest shipyard in the MENA region, has launched Global Maritime Fund (GMF), which aims to provide up to 100% financing for ships and rigs built at IMI’s yard in Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia.

The independent fund, managed by Pelagic Partners, wants to become the world’s largest maritime fund, providing ‘innovative financing solutions that are globally competitive, scalable, and fit for purpose’, while putting a significant focus on ESG financing.

Based in Cyprus, GMF will raise capital through regional and international investors, as well as long-term agreements with customers such as Bahri and ARO that will deliver stable income. It is expected to manage assets worth $1.25 billion by the end of 2023, growing to $10 billion over the next 10 years.

“The launch of the Global Maritime Fund has created a unique and unprecedented value proposition in the maritime industry. It is the first independent maritime fund providing innovative financing solutions that are globally competitive, scalable and fit for purpose, with a focus on ESG financing to support IMI’s key regional and international customers, and other companies operating in the Saudi maritime industry,” GMF Non-Executive Chairman Mr. Feras Al-Sahan, said.

As a relatively small and young fund management company, we have a combined experience of more than 60 years of ship owing, ship management, ship financing and investor management behind us. IMI and Pelagic Partners will navigate together through the shallows of this venture. But together we managed and now we achieved the first big milestone, the successful certification and registration of GMF,” Pelagic Partners founder Dr. Niels Hartmann said.

During the Saudi Maritime Congress, which took place earlier this week, IMI signed long-term agreements with Seatrax UK Limited to support the manufacturing of offshore rigs, and Jotun Saudi, part of paint and coating manufacturer Jotun, for cooperation on the provision of painting products and services for offshore rigs and ships.

“Through these agreements, IMI will leverage the expertise of Seatrax and Jotun to manufacture and paint four rigs and six VLCCs with the potential for two additional offshore rigs,” IMI said.

“The agreements will boost IMI’s localization efforts, supporting maritime activity in Saudi Arabia by creating jobs for the Saudi workforce and facilitating the transfer of technical knowledge.”

The congress also provided a platform for IMI to sign a long-term agreement with Bahri Logistics, a business unit of Bahri to enhance its supply chain through warehousing and logistics services.

Under the agreement, IMI will leverage Bahri Logistics’ expertise to operate and manage three warehouses and a total of 33 stores across its yard in Ras Al Khair, Saudi Arabia. In addition, Bahri Logistics will handle the transportation of materials required for new build and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations from local and international suppliers to IMI’s premises, including inland transportation and customs clearance.

IMI is a joint venture between industry partners Saudi Aramco, Bahri, Lamprell, and HHI. The yard is expected to become fully operational by the end of 2023, providing construction, repair, maintenance and overahul services for commercial vessels including tankers, bulkers, offshore support vessels and jacukp rigs . The yard is currently working on capacity building, workforce training, and building partnerships with companies across the supply chain.

IMI’s full-service yard is expected to be capable of building four new offshore rigs and more than 43 vessels including VLCCs, per year, as well as providing maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services for more than 260 maritime products. The developers said that the yard would feature state-of-the-art technologies, including artificial intelligence, biometrics, and the Internet of Things.

In May this year, IMI joined forces with Keppel Letourneau to design and build offshore drilling units. The partnership is expected to help facilitate technical knowledge transfer and contribute to the growth of the local maritime industry.

During the same month, the yard marked the load-out and float-off of the first of two jack-up rigs being built with its Lamprell, a historic milestone for the yard.

In October last year, the shipyard completed its first very large crude carrier (VLCC) construction project. The ‘gas ready’ vessel, named ‘Rayah’, was built for Bahri by IMI and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) at HHI’s shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea, as part of a SAR 371 million (approximately $98.9 million) contract signed in September 2019.

The project enabled more than 50 IMI engineers to gain valuable on-the-job experience from working alongside HHI’s engineers in South Korea.

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The shipyard is also investigating opportunities in the naval sector having signed cooperation deals with French shipbuilder, Couach, Hyundai Heavy Industries as well as SAMI Defense.