High and increasing demand from international shipowners and local shipyards has led lifeboat and davit manufacturer Schat-Harding to invest in a state-of-the-art lifeboat servicing facility in Shanghai, China. Umoe Schat-Harding LSA Service (Shanghai) Co Ltd began work as a company in its own right in December 2009. Located in Pudong Shanghai, with service offices in Guangzhou and Qingdao, it is a development of Schat-Harding's fast growing Chinese servicing network.
"We started a service station in China in 2006 in Qingdao, moved to Shanghai in 2007, opened a second office in Guangzhou in 2008 and now we have this superb new facility here," said Andrew Lemmis, managing director. "The Shanghai facility has a full workshop, a massive four metre deep test pool, a temperature controlled GRP repair cabin, the Schat-Harding Asian training school and our modern offices.
"What makes this facility unique and separates it from other boat or engineering workshops is that it was purpose-designed to cover all aspects of lifeboat and davit service, repair and refurbishment in one place. The test pool allows us to test engines and lifeboat sprinkler systems and most importantly we can perform lifeboat drop tests at the required overload. The logistics are far simpler, faster and much cheaper than having to hire cranes and drop boats in the sea. And we are not affected by the weather."
Lemmis said, "Over 2009 we will have serviced around 240 vessels and next year hope to get close to 300, and with our new facilities we can now provide full refurbishment in house. We will also provide service engineer initial and refresher training to our Asian offices and service partners and third parties such as classification society surveyors."
Since 2006 Schat-Harding's China Service Division has grown to thirty staff. "Eighty per cent of our clients are foreign ship owners and we regularly provide service to ID Wallem, Grieg, Gearbulk, Star Cruises, CMA CGM, Tai Chong Cheang, V Ships and OOCL. Local customers are usually shipyards, including COSCO Shanghai, Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard, Shanghai shipyard, Chengxi Shipyard, and COSCO Nantong Shipyard," explained Lemmis.
There is more growth to come in China. Lemmis said, "We have recently hired sales engineers in Shanghai and Guangzhou and we plan to open a fourth service office in Dalian. Owners more and more realise that they need to use properly trained and authorised service providers for their LSA, to keep their crews safe and to comply with IMO MSC 1206. Schat-Harding also has a growing number of major fleet owners with Fleet Service Agreements, for whom we provide global support. China is growing as an economy, which means more ship calls and more need for lifeboat service. Here in Shanghai we are setting the benchmark on how service providers in China will need to perform with our purpose-built facility and fully trained OEM team."