- 14. Juli 2016
Highly reputed suppliers of marine equipmentVDMA (German Engineering Federation): Epochal transformation in the maritime industry.
Although the order situation of European shipyards is favourable, this alone does not suffice to ensure the capacity utilisation of the large maritime sector in Germany. “Marine and offshore equipment suppliers, which employ more than 67,000 persons in this country, are over 50 percent dependent on global markets outside Europe. There has been a significant decline precisely in newbuilding orders from our main markets in Asia,” explained Dr. Alexander Nürnberg, Chairman of VDMA – Marine Equipment and Systems, at the association’s press conference in Hamburg. “The sector registered gratifying sales of € 11.7 billion in 2015, but at the same time saw incoming orders slump by 7.5 %.”
The industry is currently in the throes of epochal change. The market is consolidating with international acquisitions and joint ventures at all levels, and new business models are emerging, driving innovations and developments into hitherto uncharted waters. “We consider as positive the long-term commitment of Genting Group – which is actually specialized in the operation of ships – as shipbuilder in Germany. It shows that we can expect entirely new ideas and forms of interaction between operators, shipyards and suppliers in the next few years,” remarked Nürnberg. Other globally active companies have also gone on a “shopping trip” among German equipment suppliers in recent years in order to supplement their portfolio with innovative technology and system competence.
“We don’t expect any short-term improvement in the market situation, but predict growth again in the medium and long term. International investors such as MacGregor (Finland) and SKF (Sweden) greatly appreciate the ‘Made in Germany seal of quality’ and are thus developing into maritime system suppliers for established as well as new markets in the increasingly digital shipping sector,” added VDMA executive board member Martin Johannsmann. “We are thus confident that we will continue to strengthen and expand our global leadership. As system supplier, we can proactively pursue new ideas and test digitally driven business models and implement them at an early stage together with customers.”
Digitalization and networking in the maritime sector
All German marine and offshore equipment suppliers need to forge ahead with digitalization and networking in view of the fact that order cycles are shortening while at the same time individual, fast solutions are being increasingly required by customers. “Industry 4.0 is in its entirety essential for the maritime sector to enable it to continue to hold its own in the global marketplace and win market shares with fresh ideas,” stated Johannsmann. New products incorporating ever more digital technology are being created for networking shipping with the entire logistics chain, resulting in processes with unforeseen ecological and economic benefits. This also applies for the increasingly digitally oriented production in Germany as industrial location, securing existing jobs and creating new employment.
Expansion of new service offers
The availability of the ship as means of transport is increasingly becoming the key element in today’s ocean shipping business. In this respect, German suppliers serve customers with long-term service offers and reliable commitments over the entire equipment lifecycle. The sector uses its close relationship with shipping companies to ensure that their vessels are technically state-of-the-art in ecological and economic terms over their whole lifetime, thereby guaranteeing profitability. Entirely new digital business models are also opening up in the process.
Cooperation and system competence are crucial for sustained success. “Supplying precisely tailored systems with the core know-how of production, operation and maintenance is the key competitive advantage. This is made possible precisely with larger, intelligently configured groups of companies or joint ventures,” noted Nürnberg.
Lifelong learning redefined
The share of software engineers in companies in the maritime sector is increasing all the time. Challenges and opportunities in the industry result with the integration of mechanics, electrical engineering and software in internal or external development teams. Successful teams “speak one language”. The modalities of joint basic and advanced training and continuous learning in professional life will change further with the new methods of handling knowledge in the digital industrial environment. Factual knowledge will become less important, while powers of reasoning and data research and its implementation will play a more significant role. The sector naturally needs to have the “right people” to meet the challenges up ahead. Recruitment is thus a fundamental concern for the management teams of the fast-changing companies supplying marine and offshore equipment to the maritime industry.
Key indicators for marine and offshore equipment suppliers in Germany
Sales (2015): € 11.7 billion
Export rate: 79 %
Incoming orders down worldwide: Growth in incoming orders was +4.3 % in 2014, but -7.5 % in 2015.
Export markets shifting: Asia remains the most important market for German suppliers with a 37 % share of total sales (previous year: 46 %). In 2015, sales in China alone reached close on € 2 billion, or almost 22 % of sales achieved outside Germany (previous year: 27 %). Slight growth is being registered in other EU countries with over 30 %. There is significant growth in North America and the Middle East. Iran is also seen as having great potential. However, the volume in these new markets will in no way offset losses in established markets.
Ship newbuilding orders at low level: 172 oceangoing vessels totalling 6,759.1 m gt were ordered worldwide in the first quarter of 2016 (1st quarter of 2015: 425 with 15,105.6 m gt), including 35 (149) in China, 8 (50) in South Korea, 53 (103) in Japan, 5 in Brazil (0) and 23 (49) in EU-28, including 1 (0) in Germany. Global orders on hand for ships came to 5,807 (6,217) units as of the 1st quarter of 2016.
VDMA – Marine Equipment and Systems is part of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the largest industrial association in Europe. With over 240 member firms, VDMA – Marine Equipment and Systems represents the interests of the highly export-oriented suppliers of marine equipment and systems for the global shipping, shipbuilding and offshore oil and gas markets.