Moving with the market
-- FROM THE FULL PICTURE MAGAZINE -- Two thirds of more than 400 ships leaving Korean shipyards this year will have at least one KONGSBERG system onboard.
Korea is the world's largest shipbuilding country when considering ship size, complexity and value. Kongsberg Maritime Korea (KMK) has a strong position in this market, and has grown considerably since 2003. "We are confident that we shall succeed in maintaining our strong market position, including integrated ship control systems to LNG carriers and drilling rigs. We are well prepared to meet increasing demands for FPSOs and LNG carriers with dual fuel propulsion, like the BW Gas new buildings at DSME," says Steinar Gran, President of Kongsberg Maritime Korea.
KMK has 120 highly skilled employees, including 40 Norwegian and Korean engineers distributed at branch offices in Geoje, Ulsan and Mokpo on the west coast. These engineers act as advisors on site. In addition, they survey onboard installations, commission KONGSBERG systems and are qualified to train ships' officers on KONGSBERG's systems before each ship's delivery.
"Training is also important for our own staff," says Gran. "We are sending our engineers to Norway for product training, and we are bringing in experienced engineers from our overseas centres of excellence to Korea. We are concerned with transferring appropriate competence and skills to our Korean engineers."
By November this year, KMK will have moved into its new headquarters in Jun Gwan, northeast of Busan. The new premises include a much larger area for warehousing, assembling and testing, as well as improved offices, training facilities and access to recreation areas free from downtown pollution. The philosophy behind Kongsberg Maritime's operations in Korea is to be close to the market and serve the customer as a local partner. "We need to carry out more work locally in order to match Korean shipyards' ever improving productivity and reduced lead times from contract to delivery," explains Gran.
Market growth and KMK
Pål Rønning, Vice President of Sales in Asia, describes how the already strong Korean shipbuilding market has been boosted strongly by the present LNG boom. Says Rønning, "In Korea, we started promoting our products for the LNG carriers just in time. We proved that we had an excellent product at the start of a real boom in this segment. We also have a good position for the drilling rigs ordered in Korea. We've done well and I expect there will still be opportunities ahead. We are well positioned with a competent local organisation and infrastructure to match future demand." The prognosis for growth in the Korean market is promising for Kongsberg Maritime. Leading estimates show steep increases in the number of ships to be delivered by Korean shipyards in years to come.