About why European shipowners choose a CRIST SA shipyard, development opportunities on the offshore market and a margin barge of Zourite, called octopus, we talk to Ewa Kruchielska – President of the Management Board of Crist SA.
CRIST SA shipyard works on the shipbuilding for 25 years. During this time, she made a brand both in Poland and abroad, and this is not an easy industry. How did you manage to specialize in its specific areas?
The shipbuilding industry is demanding, but we never wanted to only drift on the ridden waters of this market. From the beginning, we knew that we could afford more. For 25 years we have shown that we will do practically everything, and our clients know this. Specialization in specific areas is important, but what distinguishes us from other companies, there are openness and courage. We just like challenges.
We carry out projects for the needs of the land and sea industry. Mainly we deal with the construction of prototype and technologically advanced structures, as an example is this year’s Zourite project – a self-posing barge called “octopus”. This is a unit that successfully works on the construction of a prestigious road on the French island of Reunion. We are currently working on an ecological passenger-car ferry for the Finnish shipowner. This adapted ship adapted to the difficult conditions will operate thanks to a hybrid drive powered by a battery and / and power generators.
At the same time, we quite boldly entershore market. Building vessels to put wind farms, we showed what technological and human potential we have.
We also successfully implement orders for steel and hydrotechnical constructions, such as wind farm foundations, steel components, sluices, kesons and turbines.
The company tries its forces in various areas, but you definitely set some priorities as a company. In what direction you want to follow in the coming years?
The market is constantly changing, so you have to be flexible. We observe the situation and try to react accordingly. We bind large hopes with the offshore market, although after collapse of oil prices, the number of proposals from this segment decreased. Last year, only 6% of offer inquiries concerned offshore units. Nevertheless, we are convinced that in the long run again the demand for even larger units of this type will increase. Based on the opinions of specialists and received inquiries, we estimate interest in the offshore industry, though not earlier than in 2020. We will look forward to waiting for this moment. Today we have a chance to get new experiences and we want to use it.
The vulnerability in the OFFSHORE industry orders we want to fill the construction of passenger and passenger-car ferries, including electrical. Almost one-third of potential orders concerns units of this type. This does not change the fact that priorities evolve along with the market, and this one is smooth. Therefore, our task is to meet the requirements of customers, and therefore we strive to raise standards, for example through subsequent quality certificates, which are a must nowadays.
So you will focus primarily on the construction of ships?
We are open to various orders. Last year, almost half of the proposals made us classified as “other”. These were, among others: floating dock, pontoons, travels or steel membranes. Our production resources allow for the implementation of hydrotechnical structures and products used also in land construction. These are also important segments of the market, which we treat very seriously.
At the same time, an important element of the company’s activity is to create subsequent, complicated units for building and servicing marine wind farms. We produced, among others Ships for wind farm (OSV, AHTS, Multi Purpose). We also take part in technical dialogue when building windmills. With regard to wind farms, it should be remembered that the energy obtained from the wind must be processed for electricity, for which marine travers are needed. We are currently conducting advanced pre-consulting discussions for the construction of this type of structure.
However, CRIST SA is known primarily from shipbuilding and steel structures. Which of the previous units can be considered flagship for the yard?
Certainly Heavy Lift Jack Up ships that can be determined as self-lying floating cranes. Specialist “legs” (Jack-ups) are characteristic. They depend on the bottom and allow you to raise the ship above the water level. Jack-ups that we have on our account, usually had four “legs”. They served to put wind farms at sea. The exception is the previously mentioned Zourite, which for the construction of the viaduct needed as many as eight legs. These types of vessels are also equipped with cranes with very high capacity capacity (4,400 t in Zourite).
In the context of shipbuilding, in connection with subsequent “sewn measurement” projects, we can not strictly classify the types we produce. Units are adapted to the client’s needs, we do not have a narrow specialization regarding the types of units being built. Due to the level of technological complexity among the units we have produced, they deserve attention Three service vessels for the Norwegian shipowner. Their task is to operate around the seismic vessels and control the remaining overlooking facilities in such a way that they do not interfere with the performed tests. We have also produced units with a very technically advanced system for transporting and distribution of feed on salmon farms.
In addition to small, specialized units, we also produce fishing vessels – mostly 30-40 m. At the same time, thanks to its own dry dock, 380 m have a wide range of production capabilities – also in the case of large ships. So far, our largest units are primarily Heavy Lift Jack Up – Innovation (147.5 m long, width), VIDAR – currently Vole Au Vent (140.40 m long, width 41 m), Zourite (107 m long, width 44 m). One of the largest units built by CRIST SA is passing in 2014. a ship for lining cables at the bottom of the sea – a price of 199.4 m and width over 32 m.
As you can see, the shipyard does not complain about the lack of orders. How many projects do you implement in one year?
We work on 15-20 different projects. The workload depends on the type and complexment of the structure. Units fully equipped or subject to more stringent strollers require more time. We can boast that for 25 years we have realized more than 300 projects for our clients with a varying degree of technological advancement.
I would like to emphasize that the implementation of each project is a new experience. Technology progresses an extremely fast pace, which is associated with the fact that subsequent orders are an interesting challenge for us. An example of this is Innovation, which received the title of “Units of 2012” in the global review of technical units. The unusual project was also Zourite, which media not only nationwide reported.
However, this is not the last interesting project this year …
After Zourite, the most important thing for us is a P310 Double-Ended work name. It will be a modern unit with a hybrid drive, powered by a battery and / and power generators. The unit will handle a road ferry crossing between Finnish towns of Parainen and Nauvo. The ship is designed for transporting 90 passenger cars and 372 passengers. The unit is to have a triple crew. It will be equipped with a battery complex with a lifetime min. 10 years. They will be loaded automatically when loading and unloading the ferry (for approximately 7 minutes).
We do not want to talk about subsequent projects for now. We are currently negotiating about over 30 orders. Among them are ferries, Kesony, fishing vessels and foundations of wind towers.
Is the situation on the market from the company’s perspective?
Recent months show that the market situation around the world can be described as not easy. After the drop in oil prices, the shipowners reduced their activity in the area of new construction. Projects are relatively little and when one appears, more shipyard fights for the order than before. However, you can not say that the shipbuilding industry is wrong – on the contrary. We currently produce a dozen or so construction. We also participate in negotiations that last very long. We still receive inquiries. Last year we managed to sign contracts for 10% of all sent offers, which in the shipbuilding is a very good result. In the near future, we expect an increase in interest in passenger prints, units with high ice class, eg patrol and fishing.
So what are the company’s advantages? Why are European shipowners confidence in CRIST SA?
In shipyard business, technology and production capabilities are key. They actually allow you to acquire contracts first and then to build units with a properly high quality. This makes the CRIST SA shipyard chosen more than Romanian, Turkish or Croatian shipyards. Another equally important element is the timeliness and relatively short execution time.
Looking from a different perspective: the idea, experience and technology are an invitation to cooperate. We strive to best meet the requirements of our clients. At all, you can not forget about employees. It’s great specialists. The specificity of work in such a difficult industry requires a large commitment to them. It often translates into a long hour spent at work, nervous situations and fight over time. Thus, the company’s success is building not only the right decisions. The company’s strength is people – regardless of their duties, combines their passion and attitude to timeliness. And of course, technology, thanks to which we have an advantage over the competition.
What distinguishes Crist SA when it comes to technology?
For European conditions, we have high lifting capabilities. Our gantry crane with a lifting capacity of 1,000 t is one of the largest on the Baltic Sea coast. Allows you to move blocks to the dock. This is important because it affects a significant shortening of the production cycle. But it is not everything. We have an automated pre-treatment of profiles, as well as water plasma for steel cutting. Water effectively inhibits dusting and filters clean water from harmful metal oxides. Cutting on the plasma is faster than standard methods due to the lack of previous material heating. In addition, thanks to high cutting speeds, the temperature has a small effect on material properties. It is also worth adding that this is a pro-ecological solution.
At the same time, thanks to the start of production in the areas of the former Gdynia shipyard, we have the opportunity to implement large projects. A dry dock with a length of 380 m (one of the largest in Europe) has a special importance for the operation of the plant. Currently, in Gdynia, other types of individuals are produced than a few years ago for the previous owner. We made the reconstruction of the dock into three parts. Thanks to this, a simultaneous assembly of blocks of more units is possible. With the support of the European Union, we also implemented the construction of the construction of a production plant for winding towers on demanding production areas in Gdynia, in which a complete line for the production of large-size pipes was launched.
As you can see, the company has large technological capabilities. What are your goals in the field of production?
For our purpose, I believe mainly continuous improvement and implementation of subsequent projects in accordance with the assumptions, customer expectations and maintaining the highest quality. We also assume further investments in infrastructure and repairs and replacement of the most worn machines.
This strategy allows not only to maintain high quality production, but also on an individual approach to each client?
Surely. An important element of the implementation by the shipyard of subsequent contracts is the ability to adapt entities to specific needs of individual clients. We approach each project individually. Each time you should prepare documentation for a given project. On its basis, we verify and check the construction details. If there are some ambiguities, we discuss them with the client. We strive to adapt the entity to its requirements and our production capabilities. We conduct dialogue with the client, trying to understand how to understand its needs, while recommending construction strategies allowing for the implementation of the project on time. The ideal example is a ship for fishing for crustaceans. This is a narrow unit, which is characterized by an exceptionally shallow immersion. It works well for small-weapons specific to the Netherlands. We have adapted to her parameters to fit in a narrow channel created especially for the needs of breeding.
The technological process in the shipyard is a flexible factor and constantly improved. Therefore, among others We work with the scientific community. Together with universities, we commission specialized research, we offer internships or practices for students, we participate in conferences organized by scientific and research environments. Our cooperation with the Gdańsk University of Technology and the Technical School Complex deserves attention. Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski. We also cooperate with Engineers from Stogda, a shipbuilding center (and many others) who significantly support our activities in the area of, among others Model trials or design. A company that wants to develop dynamically, must surround with specialists.