The shipbuilding industry continues to suffer from the dual impact of vessel overcapacity and the fall in oil prices, which has brought offshore investments to a virtual standstill. The latter has been particularly painful for South Korean yards, with the result that losses and lay-offs have been felt by even the bigger yards. This, in turn, is having a ‘knock-on’ effect on providers of marine solutions.
Wärtsilä, the leading supplier of products, solutions and services to the marine sector, is one such company being affected. However, according to Hans Laheij, Area Sales Director – Wärtsilä Marine Solutions, there is a silver lining to the current cloud hanging over the industry. “It is vitally important for South Korea to have a strong shipbuilding sector, and I see two developments that can help yards survive the current situation and return to good profitability,” he says. “The first is the accelerating switch to gas fuel propulsion. This is creating a strong demand for LNG carriers, and is likely to lead to the need for other merchant ship newbuilds with dual-fuel capability. The second factor that can help yards speed up project completions, reduce risks and most importantly, save costs, is the fact that ‘one-stop-shopping’ is now more than ever before possible. Wärtsilä offers everything from Ship Design to propulsion machinery, electrical and automation systems, pumps and valves, environmental solutions, and total integrated system packages”.
Gas is the fuel of the future
There can be little doubt the movement to gas fuel is a tide that won’t be turned back. This progression of merchant shipping into the gas age is, to a large extent, being driven by increasingly stringent environmental regulations that are having an impact on the industry. Here again, Wärtsilä has a strong edge over its competition since it has developed an unmatched offering in both gas propulsion, storage, and supply systems, as well as in environmental solutions.
Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines were fitted to the first LNG carriers in 2006. Today, more than 65 percent of all such vessels are fitted with Wärtsilä DF engines. South Korean yards have some 80 percent of the current order book for LNG carriers, and the Wärtsilä Hyundai Engine Company (WHEC) joint venture has played a key role in cooperating with yards to develop the use of dual-fuel technology. At the same time, the Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engine has become established as the industry standard for auxiliary applications in the LNG Carrier segment with a market share exceeding 70 percent.
One-stop-shopping with the most complete marine offering
The company’s position as a total solutions provider was enhanced recently with its acquisition of L3 - Marine Systems International, a company with a broad offering in Electrical & Automation (E&A) systems. Another hugely important Wärtsilä accomplishment was announced in June with the introduction of the new Wärtsilä 31 engine. Guinness World Records has acknowledged the Wärtsilä 31 as being the world’s most efficient 4-stroke diesel engine.
This comprehensive offering of solutions to the marine sector, together with its unmatched expertise and experience in gas technologies for ships, has placed Wärtsilä in a unique position to come to the rescue of the ailing South Korean shipbuilding industry. It offers tremendous savings in procurement routines, and ultimately means that the ship is far more likely to be built on time and to the correct specifications – making it a much more attractive proposition to ship owners.
Wärtsilä Marine Solutions enhances the business of its marine and oil & gas industry customers by providing innovative products and integrated solutions that are safe, environmentally sustainable, efficient, flexible, and economically sound.
Our solutions are developed based on our customers' needs and include products, systems and services. Being a technology leader, and through the experience, know-how and dedication of our personnel, we are able to customise optimised solutions for the benefit of our clients around the world
Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising technological innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximizes the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2014, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 4.8 billion with approximately 17,700 employees. The company has operations in more than 200 locations in nearly 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki, Finland.