Fit for business

-- FROM THE FULL PICTURE MAGAZINE -- Kongsberg Maritime Poland provides one of the most reliable and skilled ship repair and customer support services in the Polish market. We talked about the business with board member Wojciech Kowalczyk.

Over fifteen years, Poland migrated from the Eastern Bloc to full EU membership; in the same period, its shipping industry has known the best of times and the worst of times.

Kongsberg Maritime is excited at the opportunities in the country, which is why it joined forces with them back in 2007. This Polish partner started up in 2004 and in a short time became known as a leader in support services for the maritime sector. Based on this alliance, Kongsberg Maritime Poland was born, opening its new, fully-fledged customer support centre in Szczecin in mid-2007.

"90 per cent of our business comes through KONGSBERG," explains Wojciech Kowalczyk, the company's Business Support Manager and Board Member. "Our partnership with KONGSBERG has been an important driver of our business at a time when domestic activity has been slowing dramatically. Their market knowledge helped us and shielded the company from the worst of the downturn.

"We're based in Szczecin, in one of the biggest shipbuilding areas in the country. In the mid-1990s, it was one of the leaders in the world in terms of output, especially in the container carriers segment. Kongsberg Maritime Poland provides services to the complete range of vessels and offshore installations, though there is a particular demand from drilling equipment, cable layers, oil rigs, tankers, bulk and LNG carriers."

Kowalczyk is confident that the Polish maritime industry will prosper once again, as long as yard assets are acquired by investors with experience and dedication. "We have a great heritage here in shipbuilding and a large talent pool. We have been able to build an exceptional team of engineering and customer support personnel."

"Great experiences with Shipmedics led us to invest in the company," says Håvard Moe, Vice President - Integrated Control Systems, Kongsberg Maritime. "Greater local value creation was also important. Now we use good qualified employees from Kongsberg Maritime Poland heavily on several Full Picture projects, including naval vessels for the Polish Navy at Gryphia yard in Szczecin and the shuttle tanker Navion Europa at Remontowa yard in Gdansk."

Kowalczyk concludes: "Though conditions have been challenging, I am confident of progress in the coming years. Our operation here is fit for growth - both domestically and in support of KONGSBERG's global business."