VIKING Extends Liferaft Exchange Program to Japan
Leading marine and fire safety equipment and service provider, VIKING Life-Saving Equipment (VIKING) is stocking ready-packaged liferafts to provide fixed-price liferaft exchange to vessels calling Japanese ports.
“The world of shipping is dominated by a small group of countries,” says Henrik Uhd Christensen, CEO of VIKING Life-Saving Equipment. “Japan rates in the top three in terms of deadweight tonnage and newbuilding, so locally based shipowners have a broad set of needs for marine safety. To answer these needs, we have moved to extend our capabilities in the region – further it will also allow us to offer exchanges for the many foreign vessels calling Japanese ports.”
The new investment in safety servicing infrastructure comes on the tails of a sole agency agreement signed between the safety equipment manufacturer and Japan’s MOL Techno-Trade (MOLTECH) in November 2013. The agreement enabled MOLTECH to offer the full range of VIKING safety solutions, including industry-leading Shipowner Agreement (SOA) contracts. Popular with shipowners around the world, a SOA combines global product availability and servicing with financing in fixed price structures – and with service schedules managed from a single point of contact at VIKING.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to offer fixed-price liferaft exchange agreements in Japan itself,” says Henrik Uhd Christensen. “Previously, shipowners sailing under international flags had to call in at nearby ports in Korea, for example, to enjoy the benefits of the VIKING SOA fixed-price exchange programme.”
VIKING has already enjoyed many years of representation on the Japanese market. During this time, the role of existing distributors has remained largely unchanged, although distribution is now under the overall control of MOLTECH.
VIKING’s CEO is confident that Japanese shipowners with vessels sailing under foreign flags will welcome the new opportunity to simplify and streamline liferaft servicing: “As usual, the attraction is the predictability of costs under this type of agreement. We are building up a sizeable stock of exchange liferafts now. And in fact, we’ve already conducted the first exchanges with Japanese management companies, and we expect to sign several more agreements in the near future.”
Minoru Kusano, Director at MOLTECH sees VIKING’s expansion not only as a positive development for Japanese shipowners who have vessels sailing under foreign flags, but also as a strong statement of satisfaction with the partnership between the two companies.
“We entered into the alliance with VIKING because we saw a need in the Japanese market for a range of safety equipment and services that wasn’t able to be provided by anyone else,” he says. “This latest investment is another step in our joint commitment to bringing the very best safety solutions.”