South Australian and West Australian SMEs have been identified as the front runners for the naval supply chain on the future shipbuilding projects, but one Offshore Patrol Vessel tenderer has given Tasmania’s maritime industry the tick of approval.
Dutch tenderer Damen wrapped up its industry roadshows in February and has since submitted its OPV tender early, having identified the Australian companies it hopes to work with should its bid for the $3 billion project be successful.
Damen representative Mark Todd told Defence Connect that while Damen did not identify one leading state for naval capabilities, the company's experience with the Tasmanian industry has provided sound knowledge of the market.
"I think clearly it's a national shipbuilding endeavour, this enterprise, to build all these things," Todd said.
"So it's important that we meet with as many companies as we can and get a good picture, a good view of what we're doing. We cut steel [on May 21, 2017] on the icebreaker for the Australian Antarctic Division, so we've got a lot of Tasmanian companies assisting us with that process. So we know the Tasmanian market quite well already."
Todd's comments are similar to those of the federal government last year, which was confident the Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV) project would create strong investment in the Tasmanian SME maritime and naval industry.
"That is a $1.1 billion benefit directly to Tasmania, one of the largest Commonwealth expenditures ever," said then-minister for the environment Greg Hunt last year.
"That will mean a significant amount of work for local businesses, it will mean more local jobs for the maintenance supply, and the operations to Antarctica more generally," Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said last year.
Todd also said the company's other projects with Australia have given it a strong understanding of the market all across the country.
"We've delivered the submarine rescue gear ships to Western Australia already, so that's two big ships in support of Navy. So we're pretty familiar with the market," he said.
"And, as I say, we've got an office in Brisbane already. We've been out here for 15 years with nearly a hundred vessels, 12 of which are in support of Navy, already in place, having been delivered in the last five years."
If successful in its OPV bid, Damen is planning to expand its offices in Australia, with one already located in Brisbane and two more slated for Adelaide and Perth.
Two of the 12 OPVs are slated to be built in Adelaide, while the rest will be built in Perth once construction on the Future Frigates project begins in Adelaide.