Built-in quality

Swede Ship Marine is a privately owned shipbuilding group consisting of three affiliated shipyards across the west coast of Sweden – Djupvik Shipyard, Swede Ship Composite and Swede Ship Yachtservice. Although the history of the Djupvik Shipyard dates back to 1894, the Swede Ship Marine group wasn’t founded until the 1990s. This was following a buy-out of three yards by the current owners of Swede Ship Marine from Swede Ship, a major shipyard group that underwent financial difficulties. One of these yards was based on the island of Gotland, but was sold off in 2005 when the company brought the smaller service and repair yard, Swede Ship Yachtservice, in Gothenburg. This facility together with the other two shipyards forms the Swede Ship Marine group as it stands today.

Each of the three shipyards specialises in a different area within the shipbuilding market, giving Swede Ship Marine a wide scope of industry operations. Djupvik Shipyard is focused on aluminium and steel production, whilst Swede Ship Composite builds vessels from composite materials. Swede Ship Yachtservice provides vessel repair and service solutions, specialising in engine maintenance. Bo Axelsson, president of Swede Ship Marine, expands upon the capabilities of the company: “Today we build vessels ranging from ten to 30 metres, although we have the capacity to build vessels up to 50 metres and have completed such projects in the past. We employ approximately 75 skilled personnel on a permanent basis, with up to 25 contractors working in production if necessary.”

In terms of Swede Ship Marine’s client base, Djupvik Shipyard has been producing vessels for coastguard and Navy customers since 1937, and this still remains the core market of the business. “Our major customers include the Swedish Sea Rescue Society, the Norwegian Sea Rescue Society, the Swedish Navy and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Navy,” explains Bo. “Vessels produced for this market include fast patrol boats, sea rescue vessels and troop carriers. Specifications vary from 90-tonne offshore rescue vessels with huge towing capabilities to fast boats capable of reaching speeds in excess of 40 knots. We are very strongly placed in this niche market, and are capable of producing vessels that can perform in often challenging environments, such as the rough seas and long coastline of Norway. Another substantial aspect of the business is our extensive service and repair provision, where our clients range from a vessel owner with a single boat up to major retrofits of large vessels.”

Alongside these clients in the sea rescue and Navy sector, Swede Ship Marine also applies its services to private clients, such as local passenger ferries and pleasure vessels. The company is also moving into wind farm support boats and renewable energy, based on the platform of experience it has built up, and customising this to the market needs. “One of the strengths of being a relatively small yard is that we can be very flexible in terms of meeting customer expectations and individual specifications. Customisation plays a large part in what we do because our clients such as the Navy, coast guard and sea rescue organisations all have very different requirements for their vessels. We don’t produce any vessels which haven’t been certified by ourselves, which is a real strength in terms of vessel quality and means each boat is built using our internal experience,” adds Bo.

Certainly Swede Ship Marine’s expertise is well known in the market with its order book brimming with projects such as a 14-metre composite boat for the Norwegian Sea Rescue Society and a 12 vessel retrofit programme of vessels for the UAE. “The latest delivery we have done is a 24-metre sea rescue ship for Norwegian Sea Rescue Society. It is a state-of-the-art new developed vessel, with new machinery and upgraded design and is the biggest vessel within their fleet. The vessel was delivered in September of this year and is currently in its test period, but has been very well received so far. We also have a high profile programme underway for the UAE Navy, which is a very complex project in terms of the amount of equipment that needs to be incorporated,” elaborates Bo. Stage one of this programme is for the construction of three vessels, the first of which is a 26.5-metre patrol vessel due for delivery in August 2011. Following this is the second stage of the programme, which is for another nine vessels, and will take place in Abu Dhabi. In this step the company will provide material kits containing everything required to build the vessel and send them to a local yard to undergo construction.

Although Swede Ship Marine has been very successful in securing contracts in the UAE, the majority of its business is still focused around the Nordic region. Building on these footholds Bo describes the group’s strategy for expansion: “Despite the fierce competition within the market, we see that there are certainly areas on a global basis that don’t have the same capabilities that we do, particularly when building vessels to meet international shipping regulations. We see potential for us to undertake all of the engineering and design work required and package this into material kits, as we have done in the UAE, and send these to local yards in these areas to complete production. This is beneficial both for our own company, but also for these local businesses and enables clients to receive a domestic service alongside our own expertise.”

With Swede Ship Marine’s order book already looking busy for the years ahead, it seems that the company is continuing to cement its position in the market as a provider of quality vessels. Bo concludes: “I would like to look into more partnerships, such as the one we have in Abu Dhabi, in other areas of the globe. I believe that in order to operate effectively on the global market you need to have a local presence either through a partnership or facility. From a portfolio perspective we are in a very good position with a number of newly designed ships in a range of different sizes, capabilities and types, and I believe this will benefit the company going forwards in terms of growing the business.”

Group of three specialist shipyards

Major sea rescue and Navy clients

Full order book for 2011