Embracing resilience in a dynamic market


The volatile market has taken a toll on different sectors around the world. The shipping industry hasn’t been spared, yet amidst the economic fallout, some prestigious names in the shipping industry continue to retain their glory

Delilah Rodrigues

Boasting a historic legacy of over 40 years, ASMEF is part of the distinguished Ali & Sons Group of Companies. Over the years, ASMEF has grown manifold and left an indelible mark on the shipping industry in the UAE and GCC region. For years, it has been considered as a leading contractor in the offshore and onshore oil and gas and petrochemical industries. The company also has a great reputation as a provider of services including shipbuilding and ship repair, rig and jack up repair and upgrades, marine maintenance, modularization programs and power skid works.

Owing to its strategic location, state of the art facilities and exceptional services, ASMEF has continually been a key player in the market. Having one of the largest facilities in the UAE, it is no surprise that the company has achieved numerous gains despite the global pandemic. Emad Elatreby, General Manager of Ali & Sons Marine Engineering Factory (ASMEF) said, “ASMEF continues to maintain its robust position despite regional economic challenges. Our financial results reflect our growth in the maritime sector that plays a significant role in the sustainable development of the UAE economy. Despite the pandemic, we managed to achieve a 60 percent increase in our ship repair business because ship and barge owners used the down time to work on maintenance of the vessels. Our growth in 2019 and 2020, combined with the current bids in the pipeline will help us achieve more growth towards end of 2020. Since we are a diversified business, in the last few years, we have shifted our focus on the oil and gas business, while maintaining our ship repairing business to cater for our longstanding clients”

Achieving new milestones

The pioneering initiatives of ASMEF have proved to be instrumental in shaping the development of the UAE’s economy. Year on year, the company has been tirelessly striving to achieve excellence. ASMEF’s journey has been challenging yet rewarding. They have grown rapidly while strategically tackling the challenges that the ever-evolving shipping industry faces. The company has gained numerous strategic projects during the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. Elatreby adds, “With the help of our clients and end-user, we managed to start the implementation of the construction work for number of projects during the pandemic time. We have secured our first EPC contract for 12 Power Skids for Bu Hasa project. With this project, we have established ourselves as an EPC contractor, apart from offering other services as one of the reputable fabrication facility in the UAE. One of our biggest achievement is that we secured a number of modules for IGD-II LNG project which is currently progressing well and aiming for the loadout of those modules before end of this year.” ASMEF remains the biggest yard to build a total of 120 power skids and e-houses for different clients so far. They have progressively delivered the last 45 skids for BAB Integrated Projects between late 2019 and early 2020. As above, the company also secured 12 power skids for the Bu Hasa project from the well-known Spanish engineering, procurement and construction company Técnicas Reunidas.


A high In-Country Value (ICV) rating, proactive approach and long-standing relationship with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), gives ASMEF an enviable position in the industry. Additionally, their dedication to delivering projects in a safe, timely and economical manner is one of the prime reasons for their success. Elatreby explains, “Innovation and collaboration are the best ways to achieve continued success in a competitive marketplace. Irrespective of the market conditions, we periodically review our existing business models and strategies. Focusing on our strategic direction while monitoring and anticipating market variables has always been on our agenda. We have collaborated with some of the best in the industry to enhance our business model and contribute to the economic growth of the country. This is also essential to ensure high-quality service offerings and customer satisfaction.”

Staying focused amidst a crisis

The global pandemic has impacted companies and economies world over. ASMEF took this challenge in their stride and dealt with it positively and proactively. Immediate actions were taken in line with government directives to not only safeguard employees but also sustain the business. By adapting to the changing market conditions and thinking out of the box, the company managed to maintain carve out resilient strategies. Elatreby remarks, “This year was not easy, but to be frank 2019 and 2018 weren’t any better. The market has been fluctuating for quite a few years. But I am optimistic about the UAE’s government’s efforts to contain the impact of COVID-19. For us, business goes on irrespective of the market conditions. Sustenance is crucial. It is the survival of the fittest. Once you tide over the difficult times, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Having said that, we do have quite a few projects in the pipeline. Our floating dock has been busy since April and is fully booked until the end of November with potential booking till year end which reflects the maritime market recovery in UAE. We have also signed a long-term call out agreement with NMDC for their vessels and dredgers repair works, and have been awarded the first SPM overhauling project which is a direct contract from ADNOC”

As the pandemic continues to evolve, ASMEF is focusing on efforts that support a return to work, while addressing the changes that need to be made due to the current situation. From preparing for the post-pandemic world to stabilizing in the new environment and strategizing for the future, ASMEF has a well-defined plan of action in place. Elatreby emphasizes, “Over the years, we have grown from strength to strength while facing the challenges of the evolving market either in   in Oil& Gas or the shipping industries and we will continue to do so. We are following all the necessary health and safety measures while maintaining routine operations. We took the early initiative of segregating our workforce into dedicated zones and work in multiple shifts to ensure social distancing, all our employees are also using protective gear to prevent the spread of the virus. Sanitization of all assets, internal and external buildings, roadways, and offices is now a protocol. At ASMEF, we continue to maintain operations in an undisrupted way, while keeping employees well-being as a top priority.”