KONGSBERG in Brazilian
-- FROM THE FULL PICTURE MAGAZINE -- With ongoing investment in Brazil, Kongsberg Maritime seeks to anchor its solid position as a provider of mission-critical components to the country's ship and rig owners.
Kongsberg established its Brazilian daughter company on 1 December 2009 for two reasons:
1) Ships and rigs with dynamic positioning and/or integrated control systems from Kongsberg have jumped from 100 to 250 over five years, and
2) Brazilian authorities and nationalized companies express a preference for suppliers that invest in the country, as rules stipulate a fixed minimum of Brazil-based supply.
Kongsberg has been present in Brazil through a sales and service representative, REM Industrias, since the late eighties. This year, the company aims to combine this Macae-based training location with its service, sales and administration office in Rio.
Tony Håvelsrud managing director of Kongsberg Maritime do Brasil S.A., after spending over five years in the country as sales manager and general manager. He is accompanied by a staff of 35 employees, many of whom have extensive experience servicing Kongsberg-equipped ships in Brazil. The company recently hired around a half-dozen new engineers.
"Everyone in Brazil struggles to find skilled employees. We're fortunate; the Kongsberg brand is so strong that we've always had a steady stream of qualified applicants," says Håvelsrud.
Of the 250 or so ships and rigs equipped with Kongsberg components in Brazil, roughly onethird are owned by Brazilian companies. This ratio is set to grow, as Petrobras and Transpetro's ambitious newbuilding programmes increase the number of Kongsberg-equipped units to somewhere between three and four hundred. "Our challenge will be to maintain or increase our strong market share in this market. Competition is toughest at the lower end of DP and ICS; on the high end of advanced DP and ICS, we have a very strong position and reputation," says Håvelsrud.
The relationships between Kongsberg Maritime in Brazil and in Norway, and with Brazilian customers, requires constant care. Even if Kongsberg Maritime is able to sell its products directly in Brazil, contracts are still signed with Kongsberg Maritime in Norway.
"It is far cheaper for customers to import the components, than for us to import them and resell them. Domestic owners here have exceptions under the tax law to import what they need," says Håvelsrud.
Nonetheless, Håvelsrud states that the Brazilian company will establish a spare parts inventory in Brazil. The added speed of replacements will, in some cases, make up for added costs. Obtaining visas for foreign specialists to come and work in Brazil continues to be a timeconsuming affair. With an increased contingent of local talent, however, Kongsberg will hopefully be able to meet more and more needs with skilled Brazilians.
Local presence increases the speed and quality of service, but Kongsberg is working to add even greater value for its customers. Two areas stand out: Training and continuing education. The manning challenge in Brazil is, if anything, even worse for DP operators. Kongsberg Maritime has stepped up DP training, owning one of the few training centres approved by the Nautical Institute.
Secondly, Kongsberg Maritime has been working tightly with shuttle tanker owners and operators (Petrobras, Transpetro, Teekay and Knutsen OAS) to make their operations steadily more efficient.
"We feel excited and privileged to participate in what's happening here in Brazil. The market is booming and we're eager to participate in that growth," says Håvelsrud