Situated on the foundations of a bankrupt shipping yard, Slippurinn Akureyri ehf (SA) was established in 2005. Since then it has evolved into the biggest shipyard in Iceland providing a complete service in ship repairs and over-haul. The company also operates a number of steel and mechanical projects on land. With a long experience in building a variety of fishing vessels from scratch, today SA focuses on ship repairs, steel construction, mechanical engineering and general metal works. Based in Akureyri, in Iceland, SA turns over approximately 12 million euros each year. SA boasts a number of major construction facilities including a shipbuilding and steel construction hall measuring 80 x 20 x 18 m with two 15-tonne overhead cranes.
Anton Benjaminsson, managing director and founder of SA, expands on the company’s activities: “Our main operation is to repair and service the Icelandic fishing fleets but we also repair vessels from other countries such as Greenland and Norway, and even some Russian trawlers. Soon we have a vessel coming in from Canada.”
Although focused on the Icelandic market, it is this growing international coverage that helps to support the company’s size. Anton comments: “Greenland is one market we particularly focus on. Vessels from Greenland usually go to Denmark for repairs, but our close proximity to Greenland means vessels don’t have to travel as far, which is a key advantage. With the devaluation of the Icelandic Krona (ISK), due to the economic crisis, it is also much cheaper for companies to repair their vessels in Iceland.”
He carries on to describe SA’s typical client base: “The biggest company operating within the Icelandic fishing industry is Samherji hf, and they are one of our main clients. Generally all of the biggest fishing companies in Iceland are clients of ours. Contracts tend to be for small quantities as the time scale for projects is roughly two to six weeks depending on the extent of the task.”
The range of facilities at SA include a floating dock capable of taking vessels weighing up to 5000 tonnes and two slipways able to take 1000 and 150 tonne vessels respectively. It is this impressive spectrum of services that is a key strength of the company, as Anton highlights: “We have a docking facility, steel and mechanical workers, carpenters, normal labour for painting, and a very good sub-contractor for electrical work. Our stainless steel production means we can produce equipment for processing seafood on board, and we are able to offer a complete repairs process to clients. General class work is a particular speciality of SA as vessels have to renew their class every five years and with our amenities we can easily accommodate the work.”
As well as its variety of vessel repair operations, SA’s diverse service range includes providing equipment, spare parts, and procurement and general services for the fishing industry. The company also designs and constructs stainless steel processing lines within its 800 sq m stainless steel workshop.
Recently SA acquired DNG, a computerised jigging reel company with over 20 years experience in the industry and an international presence. An impressive 90 per cent of all DNG reels ever produced are still in use today such is the quality and reliability of the product. Requiring little maintenance and offering good economic value, DNG jigging reels provide a highly effective fishing method.
With a commitment to exceeding client expectations, SA has cultivated a reputation for quality of service and skilled workmanship. Anton describes how SA believe that a focus on quality is often more vital than aggressive expansion: “When we started in 2005 we had approximately 60 employees, over the years we have grown and now employ closer to 140 people, which is a comfortable size for the company. Over the next few years our goal is to focus on improving the company with better equipment and machinery so that we can produce to the same high standards in a shorter period of time.” This dedication to improvement means that as new contracts are won, SA has the resources and equipment to fulfil them.
Currently the market looks secure for SA, due to an upturn within the Icelandic fishing industry. Moving ahead, Anton concludes with SA’s ambitions for the future: “We would like to expand our presence and secure more contracts within the on land markets, so vessel repair will make up a little less of our total turnover. Increasing our projects in the more consistent land markets will help to balance the high and low peaks of activity in the vessel repair business.”
Iceland’s biggest shipyard
Focus on quality
Diverse range of services