Alfa Laval sees strong market in Hellas, invests in new service centre
Alfa Laval, the Swedish-based industrial group with a strong presence in marine products, like ballast water systems and scrubbers, opened its new Alfa Laval Hellas certified service centre. According to Mr. Nish Patel, regional executive Vice President of the company, “Alfa Laval in Greece has increased its presence and volumes during a time of crisis and will continue to do so. The opening of the new certified service centre and refurbished offices, is the confirmation of our belief in the Greek market.”
In an interview with Mr. Patel, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide, learned that Hellenic ship owners are still reviewing their options, when it comes to retrofitting their vessels with new systems, as opposed to their European counterparts which appear to be more active.
The inaugural event was attended by some 200 people, including deputy Development and Competitiveness minister, Notis Mitarakis, who noted the importance of the enhancement of the Greek economy by leading international companies, like Alfa Laval, “through the creation of contemporary facilities, new job openings and the development of Greece”.
Could you highlight the details regarding the new investment in Hellas?
The new Service Centre is an investment of 500,000 euros, which included the remodelling of the existing offices. We are very happy with the results and will be looking forward to supporting our existing clients, through a modern service centre, capable of high volumes.
In terms of the Greek market and Alfa Laval’s presence, which are your projections?
We’ve seen a continuous growth of the Greek marine market, despite the crisis of the past few years. In fact, we’ve witnessed double-digit growth rates, which has led us to allocate 20% more human resources in the Hellenic company. Hellas managed orders valued at 22 million in 2013.
Alfa Laval has been launching new products and technologies with the goal of reducing fuel consumption and assisting ship owners towards the goal of lowering operating costs. Could you highlight the main product range targeted to the marine segment?
All the Pure Thinking series of products are on this direction. Especially PureDry is giving a gain of about 2% in fuel consumption and other operating benefits (lower disposal cost). Also PureSox scrubber system is permitting ship owners to burn Heavy Fuel Oil and not the expensive Gas Oil in ECA areas.
Which have been the main driving forces behind this surge of new technologies and innovations in the field of shipping emissions over the past few years?
The new regulations about emissions and of course the fact that the operating costs of ship owners, trying to anticipate on this, have increased to a very high level. Alfa Laval with PureSox found the innovative method to reduce emissions in permitted levels but also to make the operation easy & safe.
Which particular new products and technologies will you be highlighting in this year’s Posidonia?
The PureThinking portfolio was highlighted in Posidonia 2014. PureDry, PureBallast & PureSox + Aqua plates were showcased and our employees were ready to give technical information and benefits of these products to Greek customers.
Do you think that there is a lot of choice between various systems and different technologies, which has perplexed owners, so as to not know where to invest?
It is difficult for owners to get all information but it is part of the game to continuously innovate.
In terms of Greek clients, are you happy with the response you’ve had so far?
Other ship owners in Europe are acting at a faster pace. Greek owners are studying the business environment and they will act at the right moment. We have already supplied a lot of Ballast systems to them and we are discussing about a lot for PureDry & PureSox. Response is very high as our products create interest and we are sure that they will continue trusting Alfa Laval.
Understandably, there is a lot of skepticism among ship owners, regarding the real life benefits of scrubber solutions. Are you looking to be able to certify the positive results of Alfa Laval’s products, in order to be able to better document the benefits of your solutions to potential clients?
Yes, we have a very good test facility in Aalborg where we do real testing on all PureThinking products, including the PureSox.
A part of your range of scrubbers is also suitable for retrofit on existing ships, an issue rather important ahead of coming new rules. However, there are restrictions to this. Can you name a few, i.e. in which cases is it not possible to retrofit a system onto a carrier? Does it depend on ship type or ship engine?
Alfa Laval has already installed a number of units as retrofits. So, there is an accumulated experience about the restrictions and specifications for this kind of installations. But some ship designs will not be able to have this installed due to the size and stability of the ship. So, yes it depends on type and size.
Having said this, we are constantly working to develop new solutions in order to satisfy all needs.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide