Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) has reported the rapid growth worldwide of its Liferaft Exchange Program (LRE) since the start of 2011. The maritime services provider has opened eight new liferaft servicing stations since January. These stations are a vital component of the LRE offer, providing ready-serviced liferafts to vessels that have signed up to the scheme.
The liferaft rental and exchange concept (LRE) has been a great success since its launch with over 12,000 liferafts now operating but it has not been without its challenges. To enable the scheme to work effectively, WSS has strategically placed 42 service stations covering 900 ports across the globe, equipped with service and liferaft exchange stocks to meet customer demands. It is essential that all the participating service stations have the right approvals from the manufacturers and local authorities as well as enough liferafts of the right sizes. The stock of such liferafts is managed by due-date monitoring systems in order to meet the individual needs of customers.
Over the last six months, Wilhelmsen Ships Service has added the ports of Antwerp (Belgium), Gothenburg (Sweden), Istanbul (Turkey), Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Valparaiso (Chile), Bintulu (Malaysia), Darwin (Australia), Singapore and New York to the network. In most cases, the liferaft stations involved in the programme can service vessels in a number of nearby ports, as well as providing other FRS (Fire Rescue and Safety) services. The LRE solution was developed as a result of consultation with WSS customers and facilitates the exchange of service-due liferafts for operational ones, enabling the vessel owner to take better control of costs and thus reducing the occurrence of unreliable service dates and weak links in the supply chain.