Finland lapped To Fill Prestigious "Partner" Role At SMM
The organizers of the Shipbuilding, Machinery & Marine Technology International Trade Fair '98, in selecting Finland as the official Partner Country, have selected a group of shipbuilders and ship equipment suppliers which are well regarded for supplying the highest quality marine products and services.
Finland, with a population of little more t h a n five million, enjoys a robust shipbuilding and equipment supply industry. Although tough competition in and out of Europe has forced, for example, the number of employees in the industry to drop from 18,000 in 1982 to 8,000 today, the country maintains several strongholds, including the building and outfitting of high-value tonnage such as LNG carriers and cruise ships. In fact it has been Finland's proclivity for developing next-generation cruise ship technology that has the country running neck-andneck with the world's other top cruise ship builders.
Most conversations regarding Finnish shipbuilding capability s t a r t and end with Kvaerner Masa-Yards, which has rapidly emerged as not only a leading shipbuilder but a primary driver of new technology on ships.
KMY builds cruise liners and passenger ferries, LNG carriers, cable ships, icebreakers and icegoing tonnage and all types of special technology vessels. A major development — created in close cooperation with ABB Industry, another Finnish maritime powerhouse — was the Azipod propulsion system. The Azipod propulsion unit can rotate 360-degree and incorporates an electric AC motor located inside the propeller pod. A separate company, ABB Azipod Oy, was established in October 1997 to carry out the business activities of the Azipod system. A major breakthrough for the Azipod propulsion was the decision by Carnival to select Azipod propulsion for two 70,400-gt Fantasy class cruise liners. Azipod propulsion was also selected for the 130,000-gt project Eagle-cruise liners for Royal Caribbean.
Finland also continues to play a lead role in the project to develop and display a commercially based service for the storage and distribution of Electronic Navigation Charts (ENC).
Via the European Union's 23- month, 3.3-million ECU ECHO project, Finland's leading technology companies, working closely with European colleagues, used the Finnish icebreaker Fennica to prove the merits — including safety and cost effectiveness — of its system, which, among other features, utilizes standard shipboard communications equipment to receive updated versions of electronic charts.
Stop by Finland's Hall at SMM to learn more about Finnish maritime solutions.