Becker Marine Systems says it is continuing its successful entry into Asian countries such as China, Japan and South Korea, despite an ongoing crisis in the shipbuilding industry. Now the Hamburg-based company is opening a branch office in Kobe, Japan, and has formed a manufacturing partnership with Murakami Iron Works for producing containership rudders.
Becker Marine Systems has had a presence in the Asian maritime industry for decades. Recently the company delivered the largest flap rudder in the world. The order from Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard
in South Korea was for delivery of the rudders and energy
-saving solutions for two 19,200 TEU container ships belonging to Mediterranean Shipping Company.
For this project, a hydrodynamically optimized solution was developed, a Becker Performance Package comprising a Becker Flap Rudder Twisted and an energy-saving Becker Mewis Duct Twisted. At a height of over 10 meters and a weight of approximately 300 tons, the 78.5 m2, high-performance rudder was a particularly challenging task for both design and production.
With ships of this magnitude, maneuverability while navigating slowly through the Suez Canal or on the River Elbe, for example, is also a continuing challenge to the ship’s crew. However, with the new high-performance rudder, the 400-meter-long ship is able to undertake difficult maneuvers, no matter whether moving slowly or quickly. Special forged steels with high yield strength are used in components under heavy load such as the trunk and shaft.
Thanks to the use of special coatings and low-wear bearing materials, the rudder also meets the latest environmental standards as well as the requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Becker Performance Package not only improves safety, it also reduces fuel consumption, the manufacturer said.
New branch office in Kobe
Becker Marine Systems has also been receiving increasing number of orders from Japan in the past few years. Managing Director Henning Kuhlmann, who himself worked in Asia for seven years, spoke about the branch office.
From a partnership alliance with propane producer Nakashima we have already been represented on the Japanese market for approximately 30 years. Since we have recently been receiving significantly more orders from this region, we would like to continue to expand our knowledge of the market and our presence on the ground in Japan.
What characterizes Japanese shipbuilding?
Japan is seen as a demanding, yet stable market. The main thing that makes it different from the rest of the world is that it concentrates to a great degree on its own country and its own shipping companies. This uniformity in terms of “going local” was another inducement for us to open our own branch office in the region.
How will it be organized?
Initially, two employees will be working at the new office in Kobe. They will be primarily acting as a technical support team, but will also be doing commercial tasks.
Are there any additional plans?
Yes, Becker Marine Systems is starting a production partnership alliance with rudder maker Murakami Iron Works. The first orders have already been placed for 2,800 TEU containerships being built in Japan. Our job will be to adapt our rudders, in proven Becker quality and well-known design, to the Japanese market and its local manufacturing processes.