Austal has entered a $97.7 million contract with the National Infrastructure Development Company, which is owned by the government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The contract, announced on December 4, will see Austal design and build a 94-metre high speed vehicle and passenger catamaran to be delivered in mid-2020.
The ship, designated 94m AutoExpress, will provide high speed passenger and vehicle operations on the key sea bridge between the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
The vessel is a derivative of the two 109-metre AutoExpress ships designed in the past two years by Austal, following an intensive development program and therefore incorporates many of the same design features.
The 94m AutoExpress ship design is being undertaken in Australia and is already well advanced, which has allowed initial construction to commence.
The ship will be built in Austal’s new shipyard in Vung Tau, Vietnam.
This new faculty commenced operations on November 1, 2018.
It has already delivered large aluminium modules for a 109m catamaran being built in the Philippines.
It is supported by Austal’s extensive global supply chain featuring more than 1,100 Australian SME’s.
As a result of the new contract, Austal now expects that the new shipyard in Vietnam will be profitable in its first year of operations and will quickly expand to more than 450 people from just under 100 employed currently.
The 94m AutoExpress is designed to carry 926 passengers and 20 cars at speeds of 37.5 knots and will operate a daily service between the island of Trinidad and Tobago.
The ship will also feature Austal’s newly developed smart ship technology, MarineLink Smart.
Austal CEO David Singleton said the development of the new AutoExpress design, initiated in early 2016, has proven to be a great success.
“We remain committed to developing the most advanced high speed aluminium ships in the world, further exemplified by the sale of three new trimarans, previously announced, which are currently in the construction phase.
“We are delighted that the government of Trinidad and Tobago have selected Austal as their partner to design and build this next-generation vessel.
“This new contact will build upon the Austal fleet already in Trinidad, which includes four 41-metre catamaran Water Taxis and six, 30m monohull fast patrol crafts,” said Singleton.