Hatch covers for COSCO 10,000 TEU quartet from NACKS
China presence assures global standards at competitive prices
MacGREGOR established and growing presence in China enables it to support ship repair, maintenance and classification docking activities there, reports Kenneth Lindstr, general manager of the MacGREGOR Service division Chinese operations.MacGREGOR global service network is very much a market driven operation. We have to adapt quickly to market needs and follow our customers wherever market forces take them. It is therefore imperative that we quickly establish a presence as and when areas of the world develop.
Without doubt the region where maritime industrial activity in terms of both shipbuilding and ship ownership is blossoming is in Asia. Economic growth there particularly in China is creating massive demands on the world shipping resources. Freight movements to and from Asia are at a record high and appear to be still growing. Add to this the fact that Asian shipyards, and especially those in China, offer highly competitive prices, and it is not surprising to report that there is a strong demand for MacGREGOR to be there to support ship repair, maintenance and classification docking activities.
In addition to beneficial direct costs, owners docking and repairing in Asia are reaping secondary benefits of low off-hire and low ship deviation costs. We in turn are offering our clients the advantages of the low cost base available within the country. But although we are sourcing much of our equipment and spares in China to gain cost benefits, these come with the assurance of a MacGREGOR global guarantee on quality.
In response to this market trend, the MacGREGOR global service network is in the process of significantly strengthening its presence in China increasing both the number of qualified personnel employed and support office locations.
MacGREGOR Shanghai Equipment Maintenance & Repair Company, a dedicated Chinese company located in Shanghai, is the headquarters of our activities within China, but we have made a strategic decision to also offer local support capabilities in the north and south of the country. In the north a new office has been established in the Dalian region and an additional office has been established in the south in Guangzhou. The current workforce comprises some 24 personnel, principally locals. They understand the mechanism for doing business in China and in addition to providing the necessary service and repair activities for MacGREGOR, they also act as liaison with local suppliers and, if required, the shipyard itself
In Guangzhou the office is staffed by a team of four with plans to increase the number in line with the growing importance of shipbuilding and repair work within the region. A local repair workshop is currently being sourced and further improvements are being planned.
Improved spare parts availability is being addressed with the establishment of a central logistics centre in Shanghai.
The growth in drydocking activities in China in recent years has been dramatic and the projections for future growth are equally impressive. By 2008, the number and sizes of drydocks is expected to increase significantly in line with the country plan to become the world leading maritime nation by the year 2015.
Repair yard relationships
MacGREGOR relationship with a repair yard is a complex one. Yards are often the customer or the supplier and sometimes the competitor, and sometimes all three. Local knowledge and an understanding of local business ethics is therefore an essential ingredient for our future success.
In addition to routine repair work, ship modernisation work is also on the increase. Typically, container hatch cover modernisations are being undertaken to improve performance, deck capacity, and replacement of steel-to-steel pads with rubber flexipads.
The quality of the work offered by Chinese yards has improved significantly in recent years. Most can complete work to internationally acceptable standards but possibly more important is the fact that this quality of work can be provided at Chinese price levels. An ever increasing number of shipowners and operators are finding China to be an attractive and cost-effective alternative to repair yards in Europe and the Far East.