Gibdock has continued to see its stock rise amongst the German shipowner community over the past year. Indeed the Gibraltar ship repair yard’s recent client list reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of leading German shipowners and managers, underlining the fact that it enjoys a very positive reputation in this particular market.
German owners and operators that have recently docked vessels at Gibdock include Oscar Wehr, Reederei üngerhans, E.Oldendorff, Peter Döhle Schiffahrt, Brise Bereederung, Asterion Tankers, Ahrenkiel, OPDR, Hans Peterson, John T. Essberger, Reederei Draxl, Columbia Shipmanagement, Thien & Heyenga, and Interorient. Containerships have traditionally comprised the majority of the German-owned vessels that Gibdock has worked on and the pattern continued through 2013 and into 2014.
However, Peter Pinck, General Manager of Combitrade, Gibdock’s representative in the German market, says: “While most of the work that we have secured for Gibdock involves container vessels of varying types and sizes, over the past year we have seen more tankers and reeferships opting to go to Gibraltar as well.”
Projects have varied in scale and scope and have included drydockings as well as afloat repair works, for stern tube renewals, bow repairs and class renewals, among other works. The yard has also handled a big engine repair after a fire in the engine room on the 500 teu capacity Andalucia, which was docked for OPDR, a new customer for Gibdock.
One of the biggest containership projects at Gibdock in the past 24 months involved the Aldebaran, a 2,785 teu capacity containership owned and managed by Reederei Horst Zeppenfeld, which went through an extensive package of works at the yard. As part of this project Gibdock was called upon to remove three deck cranes weighing over 50 tons each from their foundations and transfer them ashore using two mobile cranes.
Notable 2014 projects have included work to the 1998-built Westerhamm, a 2,072 teu capacity containership that is part of the Hans Peterson fleet, and the 1900teu Wehr Alster, operated by Oskar Wehr, as well as two ships for Jungerhans, the 1,900teu Helena J and the 1,186 teu Corona J.
Mr Pinck says: “Over the past few years we have been working closely with Gibdock to raise their profile within the important German shipping business and we have together achieved considerable success. Customers give us positive feedback about the yard and are happy with the quality of the work, and the price, while time keeping is always excellent. There are never any problems with re-delivery as, if Gibdock promises that a job will take a certain number of days, it is true to its word.”
The volume of work generated for Gibdock by German owners and operators has remained relatively steady, despite the effects of the financial and shipping market crises. “What we have been seeing is that some owners, who might have been looking at docking ships due for their 4th or 5th special survey, are opting to sell or scrap the ships, rather than send them to drydock for repairs, to save money,” observes Mr Pinck. “But this is something that is affecting many yards, and not just Gibdock.”
Part of the Ernst Russ group, Combitrade has been in business since 1983 and is now the division of the group responsible for representing shipbuilding and repair yards. “Gibdock benefits from having very specialised, targeted services,” says Mr Pinck.
“The yard has a good reputation in Germany which we hope to build on further at this year’s SMM in Hamburg. We are looking forward to making new contacts and renewing old ones, at this all-important event, where we will have our own stand (located in Hall B3, EC, No. 205) and where customers will be able to meet with senior management from Gibdock, including Managing Director Richard Beards.”
Gibdock is strategically located in the Strait of Gibraltar, reducing deviation times for vessels trading in the East-West trade lanes. The yard has three drydocks, ranging in length from 154m to 272m, and these are served by a total of seven dock cranes, with capacities from 8-45 tonnes. In addition Gibdock has two alongside repair quays, the 300m long Main Wharf and the 435m long South Mole.
Recent investments within the yard include a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Richard Beards sees the containership work as a key ingredient in the repair and conversion yard’s broad spectrum of work.
“We will continue to ‘mix it up’, securing business in many different market segments over the rest of 2014 and into 2015,” says Beards. “More and more companies are finding out that we are a yard that can be trusted to carry out complex repair jobs, delivering a quality product in a safe manner, on time and to budget.”