Keppel AmFELS is building ships at the Port of Brownsville, introducing a new industry to the state of Texas.
To facilitate the construction of deep-draft vessels at Keppel’s shipyard, the port partnered with the company to build a Public Vessel Assembly and Erection Pad. The project was completed July 31.
The assembly pad, measuring 292 ft. wide and 1,102 ft. long, is used to assemble Jones Act vessels to transport cargo along the U.S. coast from one domestic port to another. The Jones Act is a federal law regulating maritime commerce in the U.S. The law requires goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned and operated only by U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration awarded the port a $1.8 million grant for the construction of the pad. The total cost of the project was $5.3 million.
On April 30th, Keppel AmFELS held the ceremonial keel laying for the M/V George III and the cutting of the first steel plates for the M/V Janet Marie, the first two vessels being built at the Port of Brownsville.
The two containerships will join Pasha Hawaii’s fleet and serve the Hawaii/U.S. trade lane. Delivery of the vessels is expected in 2020. The secured contract with Pasha is worth more than $400 million and is a departure from Keppel AmFELS focus in the repair and construction of oil exploration vessels and offshore platforms and rigs.
The technical work required to build these vessels is estimated to create 700 new skilled jobs.