15,000 Exchanges for WSS LRE Program
Liferaft Exchange concept continues to expand globally.
Wilhelmsen Ships Service’s (WSS) market-leading global Liferaft Exchange Programme (LRE) is set to hit 15,000 exchanges since its launch just over two years ago and continues to expand, according to Dave Evans, WSS product marketing manager for liferafts. The LRE concept, which exchanges service-due liferafts and life-saving appliances for operational ones, allows vessel operators to take better control of costs and reduces the chance of getting caught out by unforeseen service dates and weak links in the supply chain which can prove to be costly.
Developed in response to customer feedback and following a pilot programme involving several major ship owners and operators, usage of the LRE service has increased so quickly that WSS logistics operators are currently working at full stretch to meet demand. Mr Evans explained that the global liferaft market has undergone a period of consolidation over the last 15 years which has left the market with a small number of suppliers, with the majority of distribution handled by distributors and dealerships. The stand-out advantage of WSS’s LRE programme is that fact that it services customers all over the world through its established global network, providing a direct capability and wide product supply scope.
Mr Evans said: “Since its launch, the LRE programme has quickly grown and is now being used by over 2,300 vessels globally. We are continuing to add new liferaft service stations and now have 42 stations covering 632 ports worldwide.“ He added: “Ultimately, it is the customer who benefits from the global availability of the programme. We enable the owner to operate with a single point of contact, meaning that they do not have to deal with agents in local ports. As the current economic situation continues to drive vessel owners and operators to reduce costs and improve efficiency, the LRE scheme provides an integrated solution to a previously complex problem.”