According to Oskari Kosonen, the managing director, the outlook is currently very good. Among the company’s regular customers are shipping companies operating passenger ships, tankers and icebreakers. These include Tallink-Silja and Viking Line, OSM Ship Management Finland Ltd, which previously operated tankers for Neste Shipping, and Arctia, the organisation controlling the State’s icebreakers.
“We also intend to acquire new ship-owning customers from other parts of Northern Europe. One advantage for us is that our shipyard is right next to Naantali harbour, so the fairway remains open in the winter,” Kosonen says.
In addition to scheduled repairs and dockage, the company’s service segment has been constantly expanding. For the company, service means offering a 24/7 on-call service and being able to dispatch ship repairers to work in other locations.
“Repairs are seasonal in the sense that owners of passenger ships prefer to bring their vessels to us in January, while owners of tankers use us in the spring or autumn. Icebreakers understandably arrive in the summer. On average, the dockage period for repairs is 10–14 days, but it often takes much longer to prepare for maintenance and repairs,” Kosonen says.
Turku Repair Yard’s dock basin is 265 meters long and 70 meters wide, so there is space to dock several vessels at a time.
Vessel safety has reduced the number of ships running aground
Finland’s coastline is notorious for its shallow and rocky waters. However, every year there are fewer and fewer ships arriving in Naantali for repairs due to running aground.
“As vessel safety has improved, the nature of ship repairs has changed since the olden days of ships being damaged at sea,” says Kosonen.
As for other forms of shipbuilding, environmental factors are increasingly important. This can be seen in the prevalence of sulfur scrubbers and ballast water purification systems, which are both being installed and modernized as a brisk rate.
“Ships have also had sulfur scrubbers installed in Naantali, but our other daughter shipyard in Klaipeda has installed even more of them. Our group of companies consists of three repair shipyards located in Naantali, Klaipeda and Tallinn. This is a competitive advantage for us because we can provide our customers with services according to which of the shipyards has spare capacity,” says Kosonen, describing BLRT Grupp, the Estonian owner of Turku Repair Yard.
In addition to repairing vessels, Turku Repair Yard also dismantles ships, and this activity is subject to increasingly strict regulations. The company is involved in an EU project through Business Finland, and last year it took a very important step forward when it joined the list of ship scrappers approved by the European Commission.
Turku Repair Yard Ltd employs over 50 maritime professionals and an enormous number of subcontractor personnel on its projects.