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Besiktas Shipyard shifts to better performing segments of shipping to attract new orders

Describing a challenging environment for shipyards, but with opportunities for the brave Mr. Yavuz Kalkavan, Managing Director of Besiktas Group, is claiming that the way forward is to look for orders in the better performing shipping markets,

such as inland carriers and offshore service ships. In an interview with Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide regarding Besiktas Shipyard, Mr. Kalkavan talks about the growth prospects of the shipbuilding industry in Turkey, as well as the company’s, which has delivered 21 chemical tankers to North European buyers in the last few years and is currently focused in LPG carriers, as well as sea and river type tankers.

Last year proved a rather difficult one both for ship owners, as well as Asian shipyards. On the contrary, shipyards in Turkey seem to be on the rise.
How did Besiktas Shipyard perform during 2009? What kind of ships are you able to build?

Besiktas Shipyard is specialized to build a high quality of chemical tankers up to 26.000 dwt.
We have delivered 21 chemical tankers mainly to North European buyers in the last few years, most of these ships were Ice Class 1A and built with Scandinavian ship building standards and specifications.
Today we are building semi refrigerated LPG carriers and sea & river type tankers.

Will you expand to making other ship types as well?

The small tanker market is passing a very difficult period that’s why we need to find owners who have new building projects in better performing segments of shipping like inland carriers & off shore service ships.

How big is your current order book?

Today Besiktas Shipyard has 14 newbuilding projects for delivery in 2010 and 2011,Β  4 x semi refrigerated 3800 cbm LPG carriers and 10 x 7000 dwt sea& river type tankers. In 2009 during the crisis we had newbuilding orders with the total value of $300.000.000

Could you give us some details on your clientele?

We have been building ships mainly for North Europeans until this year.
Today we build LPG carriers for an Italian LPG company, Gas & Heat and sea river& type tankers for a Turkish & Russian company, Palmali Shipping.

Which are the main competitive advantages of Besiktas Shipyard?

Besiktas Shipyard can compete in the projects which is related to the standards and requirements of Oil Industry and tankers are our core experience.
We are competitive in high value small ships

During the previous years, we’ve witnessed an impressive growth of the Turkish shipbuilding community. Which were the reasons for that and how do you see the future shaping up?

Turkish Shipyards took the advantage of the small tanker demand in Europe.
Turkey became the number 1 builder in this segment.
We took over building chemical tankers from European Shipyards. Turkey needs to take other shipbuilding segments from Europe. We need to convince the world that Turkey is a good destination for specialized ship building.
We have to take some market from Damen, STX Europe, Keppel type of shipbuilders because we shall compete in their products.

Do you think that Greek ship owners will begin ordering more vessels in Turkish yards in the future?

Greek Ship-owners are generally own handy size or bigger commodity carriers.
There are very few specialized ship owners comparing to North Europe.
Greek Shipowners will continue to build their huge requirements in Far East however
There have been some Greek companies which had built special tankers, cement carriers in Turkey.
Besiktas had built one tanker for Hellespont Shipping in 2008.

Given the strategic position of the country, do you believe that there is a lot of potential for the ship repair and ship maintenance business?

Turkey has become one of the most important ship repair destination in Europe.
Ship repair is the segment where Turkey has a great competitive advantage coming from its strategic position, well established ship repair yards with 17 floating and graving docks, strong mechanical workshops and relatively cheap labor.

What services does Besiktas provide in this area?

Besiktas Shipyard has built a panamax size drydock dedicated to ship repairs.
We started to operate our brand new graving dock in October 2009.
We have tried to employ engineers and specialists with high ship repairs experience
to make a strong start in ship repairs

What measures are you implementing in order to make your ships safer and more environmentally friendly?

Buying and installing the latest environmental technologies is easy, we try very hard to improve our ship building and ship repair quality to deliver safer ships to our industry.

How did the shipping crisis in late 2008 affect your expansion plans?

Besiktas Group has a very important project to build two very large graving docks in South of Turkey (Ceyhan Area). We had to postpone this project.

When do you think you will resume your growth plans?

I am one of those who have pessimistic view about the near future.
I hope there will be stronger demand for shipping than what I am afraid of.

How do you think demand for newbuilding ships will shape up during 2010?

In the late 2009 and in 2010 until now, there has been a demand for bigger bulk carriers. This is good for the Far Eastern shipyards, they are able to secure some contracts. People seem not to be scared of shipping crisis & the huge order book of bulkers. I am not confident of the future of any demand for new building commodity carriers. There will be more stable demand for small short sea carriers however financing difficulties is stopping the investors for the time being.

Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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