Marina Regional Director Engr. Emmanuel B. Carpio and Coast Guard spokesperson for Region 8 Lt. Commander Laurence Roque (middle) inspect the MBI shipyard. Also in the photo are Chua Group of Companies EVP Meneleo Dilao (right) and MBI naval architect Dunn Jumao-as (left).

ORMOC CITY- Leyte may receive one of the lowest investments in the country, but local capitalists are mobilizing their resources to industrialize the province.
Not many know it, but the region is now a hub of shipbuilding and repair with the operation of a shipyard in neighboring Albuera town over the past year.
Megaship Builders Inc. (MBI), owned and operated by the Chua Group of Companies, is the first and only shipyard in Eastern Visayas located in Barangay Benolho, Albuera, south of this city.
The area was originally and continues to be the crusher site of another subsidiary, Premium Megastructures Inc. (PMI).
Having a fleet of barges that deliver aggregates to different parts of the country, PMI experienced the long waiting time in securing a slot for dry docking of its vessels in Cebu’s shipyards which could take up to six months.
The conglomerate put up a ship repair facility that would not only cater to its own vessels but accommodate other customers as well.
Adjacent properties were acquired until the site grew to its present 50 hectares. The shipyard’s development began on August 2015 and operations commenced June 2016.
The 3,000 DWT capacity shipyard can repair three to five vessels with a total size of 2,503,000 gross tons simultaneously. Its biggest slipway is 35 meters wide to allow a 27-meter width barge to dock. The facility currently employs 25 workers, mostly welders.
MBI prides itself of being the first shipyard in the Visayas to utilize marine airbag technology in drydocking, a departure from the common carriage-type method.
Its other services are structural repair and fabrication, hull preservation and painting, electrical repair and drafting design. It also repairs, modifies and reconditions pumps, valves, and propellers.
MBI’s capability goes beyond ship repair as it was commissioned by its first two customers to manufacture vessels.
These are a landing craft type for Banton Liner Transport Services of Romblon and a 180-ton steel-hulled passenger boat for Camotes Ferry Services of Cebu.
With the congestion experienced by shipyards in Manila and Cebu, MBI hopes to secure a big chunk of the maritime industry’s fast-growing repair needs, says its president Francis Lloyd Chua.
Improvement of its site continues with the construction of more workshops and a three-story modern building that will house the corporate offices of PMI and MBI.