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Trade Press Release

MacGREGOR keeps pace with container ship demands

21/10/2003

Products and partnerships sustain MacGREGOR Asian market thrust

MacGREGOR commitment to Asia is explained by Markku Mattila, who has moved to Shanghai to manage the Hatch Cover division worldwide activities from there, and who has also been appointed president of MacGREGOR Asian operations

With global shipbuilding concentrated in Asia and primed to continue growing, MacGREGOR has to take special care of its customers needs there. A strong regional presence and continual development of products, resources and personnel are dictated to maintain competitiveness in the world major market place.

Now heading that thrust is Markku Mattila, who has moved to Shanghai to manage the Group Hatch Cover division worldwide activities and take responsibility as president of MacGREGOR Asian operations. Mr Mattila has gained wide experience during 30 years with MacGREGOR, 19 of them as general manager of the Hatch Cover division.

Quality and support

How does he see his new role? "The challenge is to combine all MacGREGOR operations together so that customers receive the same quality and best possible support from all divisions and products available in Asia."

Having a majority shareholding in MacGREGOR-Kayaba (the stake was increased last year from 50 to 75 per cent) makes it possible to tap synergies with the Japanese, Chinese, Korean and European operations and to benefit from all MacGREGOR strengths in Asia. "We can now develop a common platform without any restrictions, creating the possibility to improve our competitiveness and guarantee the best service to customers."

A network of MacGREGOR offices embraces Tokyo, Kobe and Tsu in Japan, Seoul and Busan in Korea, Shanghai and Hong Kong in China, and Singapore. Industry developments in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam are also closely monitored.

Japan and Korea, as the world largest shipbuilding countries, have a continual high demand for hatch covers for container ship, bulk carrier and general cargo vessel projects. "But the most significant growth is demonstrated by Chinese yards, whose rapidly developing business calls for MacGREGOR to continue building a first-class, competitive platform for hatch cover production in China," Markku Mattila points out. "We also need to strengthen our service and technical support to owners and yards in Asia.

"In Korea, strong technical and service offices are deployed in Busan and Seoul to deliver reliable support and a quick response to the demands of our local customers. Close partnerships will be developed with Korean factories and local component suppliers to further improve response times and competitiveness, helping customers in turn to be more competitive against rivals in a tough market.

"We are continually assessing possibilities for new regional partnerships to enhance our competitiveness in servicing clients and meet the increasing volumes required by the Asian market."

To support service and spares supplies, further investment will be directed at building close partnership relations with Chinese yards, developing logistical support (notably in Shanghai and Singapore), integrating MacGREGOR-Kayaba customer services within the region and with the rest of the network, and developing business relations with Kawasaki and Kone Cranes in Asia in both maintenance and spare parts support.

Summarising MacGREGOR after-sales strengths in Asia, he cites:

  • bases in the most strategic locations for serving customers
  • local customer knowledge
  • skilled service engineers and spares sales staff.

Good products and reliable partners

Thanks to good products and reliable partners, MacGREGOR Cranes is the leading supplier of shipboard cranes in Asia, which will continue to be the most important business area for the division in the future. "Standard geared bulk carrier newbuilding activity calling for deck cranes is shifting from Japanese to Chinese yards," notes Mr Mattila. "In this sector we need to analyse production cost levels in China to remain competitive. In Korea, we have a very strong foothold in service cranes, with a near-30 per cent market share; Korean-built container ships are also supplied with cargo cranes."

Increasing activity in general cargo tonnage newbuilding has recently generated valuable orders for MacGREGOR heavy-lift cranes. Production capacity in China, via partner Luzhou Machine Works, has been raised from around 30 cranes a year to over 100 a year to ensure a rising market share is maintained.

Continual improvements in crane quality, lead times and delivery punctuality are sought, a commitment reflected in the establishment of a site office at the partner plant staffed by MacGREGOR personnel. Some components are sourced from other Chinese partners because of their competitive cost and to balance the currency impact.