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FULFILLING A PROMISE

Brojan children build shipyard in Consolacion to honor their father

First Posted 08:50:00 12/07/2009

His father had long wanted to put up a shipyard.

But Reynaldo Brojan Sr. did not live long to realize his dream.

So his children decided to honor their father by building a shipyard in sitio Bangkerohan, barangay Tayud, Consolacion town in northern Cebu.

Eight years later, Fortune Shipworks Inc. became the first medium-sized ship repair/ship builder company to be recognized in the 2008 Regional MASTERS of the Maritime Industry Authority in Central Visayas (Marina-7).

The award was a recognition of the hard work and dedication the family had put in together to build the shipyard and make it work, said Reynaldo ?Ricky? Brojan III, the firm's managing director.

He said his father had been into the cargo shipping business way back in the 1970s.

In the 1990s, Reynaldo Sr. bought a property in Tayud which he thought of developing into a ship repair facility for their cargo ships.

He started to develop the property in 1999 but was not able to finish it. He died of a heart attack in May 2000 at age 60.

At that time, Ricky was only 29 and was in charge of the maintenance of, and the procurement for their cargo vessels. When the family decided to go on with the construction of the shipyard and fulfill the dream of their patriarch, the task fell on Ricky?s lap especially that his father used to discuss with him how to go about with the construction and which direction the shipyard should take.



challenge

?I was so used to having my father's guidance ? just doing what he would instruct me; and when he died, having to decide by myself was a great challenge for me,? he said.

He then put together a team of consultants, engineers, contractors and workers to build the shipyard, in accordance to his father?s wishes.

It wasn?t easy: he was still mourning over the loss of his father while at the same time, focused on the construction of the shipyard especially that he didn?t exactly have a background in engineering.

After 18 months, the construction was finally completed.

Everyone in the shipyard, including Ricky?s family members, was happy during the inauguration in 2002 when their vessel was mounted on the slipway for dry docking: the promise had been fulfilled.

At first, the shipyard was supposed to take care of the repair and the maintenance of the vessels of the family-owned Fortune Sea Carrier. But inquiries started pouring in from other shipping firms.

Fortune Shipworks then began accepting repair works for other vessels. Their slipway could accommodate vessels weighing up to 1,800 metric tons.

The shipyard started to build a name in the shipping industry.

Fortune Shipworks Inc. also offers services like hull preservation, rudder works, propulsion works such as propeller and tailshaft repairs and bearing replacements, fabrication and afloat repairs. They also accept design and ship building consultancy.

It also has a complete in-house machine shop, cranes, forklifts and other related equipment such as generators and blasting machines, which they use in their facility to make sure that they produce high quality results.

Aside from these, Ricky said what sets them apart from the other ship repair companies is that they're cheaper than the other big companies.

He said their niche is also in their fast and efficient service. Their slipway is designed in such a way that the vessel remains ?high and dry? even during high tide, allowing the work to continue.



small Keppel

According to Ricky, their customers describe them as a smaller version of Keppel Cebu Shipyard, which was considered as the biggest in Cebu and was established before them. ?They see us as a company at par with Cebu Shipyard in terms of services.?

Cebu Shipyard closed down its ship repair services to focus on ship building operations in March 2009.

Ricky said he has maintained a handful of staff members who are in charge of marketing, logistics and other administrative work.

But he added he has maintained a number of contractors who have their own stable of skilled workers such as welders, painters and sandblasters as well as engineers.

These contractors are accredited in the industry and are also working for other ship repair companies, said Ricky. ?So training wise, I'm already sure that they are already well trained and well experienced.?

After eight years in operation, Fortune Shipworks got the recognition it deserved: the shipyard received the 2008 Regional MASTERS award for the small and medium ship builder or ship repair company. It was the first time that Marina gave recognition to the shipyards.

?I?m happy and proud to have been given the award considering that this is the first time Marina has given awards (to the shipyards) and considering that we are a young company,? said Ricky, 38.

But Ricky said they are not about to sit on their laurels.

Expansion plans are already in the pipeline while their youngest sibling, 21-year-old Jonathan Dexter, is being groomed to help run the shipyard.

Ricky said they already had plans to build three more slipways because the original development plan made by his father was to have four slipways.

But they decided to modify the designs since they noticed that vessels now were getting bigger.

?When we started, the vessels then were just smaller in sizes not like now. So we need to expand,? said Ricky.

The company is now negotiating for the adjacent area of about 1.4 hectares to add to the existing three-hectare property since they will now build bigger slipways, a modification to the previous plan, to accommodate bigger vessels.

The recognition given by Marina is just the company?s first and will not be its last as Fortune Shipworks has committed to improve its services and drive more growth for the family-owned business venture.

?Hopefully, we can serve more once we start expansion by 2011,? said Ricky.

They didn?t just fulfill their father's dream. They made it grow and their father would have been proud.


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