Demand for Wilhelmsen Ships Service’s Liferaft Exchange scheme surges in key global regions
Wilhelmsen Ships Service is using SMM as a benchmark date to assess the success of its revolutionary Liferaft Exchange Scheme in the period since the service was launched at the exhibition two years ago. Since this time the company has seen the Liferaft Exchange Scheme grow rapidly in popularity as customers recognise the simplicity and convenience of exchanging out-of-date liferafts for serviced ones on the dockside without any delay.
"Since its launch the Liferaft Exchange offer has been taken up enthusiastically by our European-based customers," comments Dave Evans, Product Marketing Manager Life Saving and Survival, Wilhelmsen Ships Service. "However, in the last eighteen months we have also seen a dramatic increase in interest from our Asian and Oceania customers."
The present Liferaft Rental concept was introduced into Asia Pacific early in 2009. "It is a concept that shapes the liferaft market within the maritime industry," explains the Asia Region's Sales Director John Sim. "In the last 18 months, our customers in Asia Pacific have entrusted us with bringing over 400 of their vessels, totalling 1553 liferafts, into the programme."
He continues, "The key to our success includes our commitment in the investment of our liferaft service network, the dedication of our Account Managers and Customer Services to service our customers, and the increasing number of customers that value the benefits of this concept."
Within the last two years in the Asia Pacific region Wilhelmsen Ships Service has strengthened its existing network and invested in wholly-owned liferaft stations in Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai and Guangzhou. There are plans for more stations in the near future.
Rajan Gupta, Fleet Manager for Wallem Shipmanagement, expressed the company's satisfaction at the service. "We are extremely satisfied with the exchange service and network of Wilhelmsen Ships Service for rental liferafts around the world...We are particularly pleased that this concept has brought in operational efficiencies by freeing up management time in arranging liferaft service while at the same time adding predictability to our annual operating costs."
Wilhelmsen Ships Service's Liferaft Rental concept has many benefits, including its ability to make pricing predictable for customers through an annual rental fee that makes operational budgeting easier. The company undertakes the liferafts' due date monitoring, allowing customers to improve their operation efficiency, thus experiencing a reduction in administration time and last minute arrangements.
Mr C. M. Yoon, Operating and Maintenance Manager of the Offshore Equipment Department of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd, observed the advantages the Liferaft Rental service has brought to his organisation. "The service has gained us savings in maintenance cost and is accessible worldwide," he comments. "We also enjoy a shorter maintenance time and valid certificate control."
Another Wilhelmsen Ships Service customer, Mr Andy Seol, Team Manager of the Tanker and LNGC Fleet Management Team of STX POS Ship Management states, "The advantages of Wilhelmsen Ships Service Liferaft Rental service help us manage our vessels more efficiently and give peace of mind to our operation. We don't miss liferaft servicing due dates, which we are reassured are followed up by a reliable company. The fixed price is good for budgeting purposes."
The Liferaft Exchange Programme has now expanded to cover 743 ports in 71 countries worldwide. 2010 has seen an additional 10 service ports being added. The concept, which exchanges service-due liferafts for operational ones, takes better control of costs and reduces the chance of getting caught out by unforeseen service dates and costly weak links in the supply chain. The solution was developed as a result of customer requests.
"We have had a chance to reflect on our progress since launching the full Liferaft Exchange Programme two years ago at SMM," summarises Dave Evans. "Not only have we signed up a large number of global customers to this scheme but we have also been able to increase our offer by broadening our range of liferafts." Wilhelmsen Ships Service most recently launched its new 35 person liferaft.
The liferaft market has undergone a period of consolidation over the last 15 years resulting in a small number of large suppliers, much of whose distribution is handled by distributors and dealerships. Wilhelmsen Ships Service, through its far-reaching global network is, however, able to provide a direct comprehensive capability and wide product supply scope.