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China yards roles will evolve, Wartsila open to joining in the process

The role of the shipyards in China especially will change to become more that of a vendor or part of the supply chain for systems integrators such as Wartsila and along with it joint ventures with them will also be a future trend, Timo Koponen, vp for Flow and Gas Solutions at the technology leader’s Marine Solutions arm told Seatrade Maritime News.

He noted that as operating expenditure plays a greater role in the calculations of ship owners and operators compared to capital expenditure, “the role of the shipyard is going to change”, as data and operational optimisation considerations take greater prominence. “I see that their role is changing to becoming more of a supplier than being the centre of everything as it is today,” Koponen said.

“As we, and other players trying to grasp the ecosystem thinking we become closer to the owners and operators as it becomes more about optimising the life cycle cost,” he said, adding that the conversation also often begins much earlier, perhaps at the concept stage before even going to the yard.

While there also needs to be a good reciprocal relationship, Koponen sees that the development of Wartsila’s joint ventures and cooperation with China yards and manufacturers will continue. “Of course they must be parcelled with the new developments and what value they can bring but for sure I don’t see any change in that cooperation trend that is going on with Chinese yards,” he said.

In terms of future collaborations, Koponen singled out gas as an area with potential. “Gas is one area that is happening already; we could surely do more things together,” he suggested. This would run across the whole spectrum of developments in maritime gas applications ranging from containment systems to propulsion systems and so on.

He pointed out that as LNG is increasingly being used as a fuel for larger ships, there is a need for larger containment systems and this requires their construction to be more closely integrated during the vessel’s construction. This is where the collaboration with the yards needs to take place at an early stage, Koponen said.

Posted 11 December 2017


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