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The Industry Minister and other Dominican Authorities visit SYM Naval's shipyard in Barcelona

In coincidence with the World Congress of Free Trade Zones that took place last week in Barcelona, a delegation of 17 authorities from the Dominican Republic visited SYM Naval’s shipyard in Vilanova i La Geltrú, Barcelona.

Among the dignitaries that attended the event there were the Industry Minister, Nelson Toca Simó, the Executive Director of the Free Trade Zones National Council, Luisa Fernández Durán; the General Director of the Center for Industrial Development and Competitiveness, Alma Fernández Durán; and the President of Dominican Garden Products, Eduardo Bogaert.

SYM Naval has a great future projection in the Dominican Republic. Thanks to this visit, both the institutions and businesses of the Caribbean country got to know its naval activity firsthand.

Luisa Fernández Durán, Executive Director of the Free Trade Zones National Council, explained: “I’m very impressed with this project and supporting it at all levels. At the beginning we talked about SYM Naval buying the plot. But the Port Authority suggested a renting contract of 40 years between SYM Naval and the Dominican Government”.

In the words of Francisco Lage, CEO of SYM Naval, this proyect “will represent a naval and maritime technology transfer. With this we contribute to the dream of making the Dominican Republic a maritime hub”.

The Industry Minister, Nelson Toca, showed enthusiastic about the project: “We are very happy that SYM Naval can establish itself in the Dominican territory. The Dominican Republic offers many incentives for the establishment of this kind of businesses. That’s why the Dominican Free Trade Zones have a high recognition not only in the Caribbean region, but also worldwide.

Francisco Lage explains the origins of the project: “Three years ago our customers started demanding us a real presence in the Caribbean and we fell in love with the Dominican Republic. We opened a small commercial office there and found out that the port logistics and customs procedures work really well. And that’s fundamental for us”.

With a top level equipment, and in a privileged location in the Caribbean, SYM Naval wants to attract not only the ship that are already operating in the Dominican Republic nowadays, but also those that are currently operating in other countries of the area, offering them services of ship maintenance, reparation and conversion. SYM Naval wants to be the partner in the Caribbean of the main European and American ship operators.

In Francisco Lage’s words: “The customer that is nowadays operating in the Dominican Republic will represent only 10% of the shipyard’s client portfolio. The target market for our reparation services are the cruise ship that are already our customers and operate in the Caribbean. Some of them are already stopping in the Dominican Republic, but many of them aren’t. We want to offer them a different service, linking us with the whole sector, because once a customer enters the circle we can offer him other possibilities and he usually buys a whole pack. If a cruise ship is repaired here, normally it won’t make the change of crew in Florida. It will do everything here”.

SYM Naval plans building a 4.0 shipyard which will have all its processes digitalized. It will have two docks and other facilities that will be built in eight years.

The docks will be built by Dominican personnel. Francisco Lage explains the process of the staff progressive training: “When we first created the project, the Human Resources and Operations Department asked the Financial Director and me how were we going to find 300 naval technicians. We had to create some kind of productive training center or the project would be unviable. If we build the floating docks with local personnel then we can train them without commercial risk”.

As an added high value, SYM Naval offers three ISO certifications: ISO 45000 for workplace risk prevention, security and health; ISO 9001 for transparent management and ISO 14001 for environmental responsabilities, a regulation that is especially demanding for shipyards. In addition, SYM Naval offers a clear environmental commitment that plans an active participation in the preservation of the Dominican Republic natural protected areas.

According to the Industry Minister, Nelson Toca Simó: “The environmental guarantees offered by SYM are wonderful. They have everything covered. This gives a great tranquility both to SYM and the country. We are a great power in tourism, and the tourism has a big impact on the environment if we are not careful. But we are confident that we won’t find any kind of problem with this”.

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