Contract opportunities abound in booming Middle East

Middle East public and private investment in infrastructure and industrial commercial and residential development is booming in the flip side to oil price rises.

WA building and construction sector companies view the Middle East as a major potential export market and many are winning contracts.

Almost thirty WA companies have registered an interest in participating in The Big 5 Show in Dubai from 15 to 19 October – the largest number from any Australian State.

The Big 5 refers to building and construction, water technology and environment, air conditioning and refrigeration, cleaning and maintenance and glass and metal.

A recent WA business success story in the Middle East is Chivers Marine, which recently supervised the loading of two pilot boats onto a 45,000 tonne bulk alumina ore carrier destined for the United Arab Emirates after securing a multi-million export contract with the Sharjah Port Authority.

The sale of the two 13.2 metre vessels, valued at $US1.36 million, is Chivers Marine’s first major overseas export contract, beating two major European boat builders in the bidding process.

The pilot boats will be transported as deck cargo on board a bulk carrier, which will be delivering $10 million worth of Alcoa alumina to ALBA, a smelter located in Bahrain.

Chivers Marine managing director Laurie Chivers said the project was the result of negotiations with the Sharjah Port Authority after visiting the Gulf region last year on a trip facilitated by Austrade’s Dubai Post.

“Austrade’s Dubai-based trade commissioner Susan Kahwati was instrumental in our successful bid to win this contract,” Mr Chivers said.

“Ms Kahwati managed the entire visit to the region, accompanied me when I presented the proposal, and helped to negotiate and translate the contract.”

WA’s new Austrade State manager John Yeudall, who served as a senior trade commissioner in the Middle East for eight years, said the Chivers deal not only demonstrated the company’s competitiveness by edging out UK rivals, but also served to highlight WA’s marine industry capability to other potential offshore buyers.

“Geographically, the marine industry is concentrated in WA with about 55 per cent of production by value,” Mr Yeudall said.

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