KUALA LUMPUR: Alam Maritim Bhd is looking to halve its fleet size and expects new contract wins to narrow losses with the likelihood of prolonged choppy waters ahead. Group managing director Datuk Azmi Ahmad said after its AGM today, the plan forward for Alam Maritim is to cut its current fleet of 42 to half, by disposing of vessels above the age of 15 years as part of a cost optimisation strategy. Azmi said they will be selective in replacing the vessels sold, and such purchases will be funded through a combination of proceeds from the sale and other funding methods such as bank borrowing. Previous disposal of vessels have raked in between US$1.5-2 million (RM6-8 million) per unit. Having only seen vessel utilisation rate of 47% last year, it is now looking to achieve at least 60% this year. “I think fully recovering to the black is quite a challenge. If we can actually reduce the amount of losses we recorded compared with 2017, I think we should be able to have better results in 2019,” Azmi said. Although, Alam Maritim has seen better days since the recovery in oil prices, Azmi did not rule out the possibility of having to endure more challenging times ahead, even though higher oil prices are expected to allow for more activities for oil majors, which should in turn benefit the company. Banking on its contract wins for the current financial year, the group, which has been in the red since FY16, recorded a net loss of RM145.38 million for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017. With the RM226.08 million worth of oil and gas related contracts it recently bagged, Alam Maritim’s total current order book value rose to RM333 million. It has also tendered for projects worth RM1.2 billion consisting offshore installation and construction, offshore support vessels, and inspection repair maintenance of underwater facilities. From a human resource aspect, it has reduced working days to four days and will not be hiring replacements for staff who resigned. Commenting on the total outstanding debt of RM600 million, Azmi said the group is at the tail-end of its debt restructuring efforts and will be able to ink agreements with its creditors by year-end. The repayment tenure ranges between two and seven years. Bank Negara Malaysia’s Corporate Debt Restructuring Committee serves as a mediator for the debt rationalisation process.