Med Marine gave Robban Assafina a glimpse of the company’s 2023 huge projects
Med Marine is expecting two years of great business as plans are underway to double its building capacity to reach 35 vessels per year by 2023. Muhammet Gokhan, Business Development Manager at Med Marine, gave Robban Assafina a glimpse at the company’s great projects ahead and expansion prospects in new markets.
How do you see Med Marine’s position in the Middle East region?
We have many clients in the GCC region, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait and Libya, but we certainly seek to develop our business in the Saudi market as well, which is a very important area for us. This explains our participation in the Saudi Maritime Congress, which we hope will create new partnerships through communication and involvement with the Saudi maritime industry.
You have partnerships with a number of leading companies mainly Abu Dhabi Ports in the UAE. How have these partnerships developed over the years?
Knowing your client’s needs and requirements is very essential, we listen to what they want and offer them tailored services at affordable prices. So we meet their requirements from all aspects, technical and commercial sides. We see great prospects for our partnership with Abu Dhabi Ports, as our cooperation will certainly grow in the near future.
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Med Marine has recently signed a major agreement with Libya’s Misrata Freezone. Could you tell us more about this agreement and where do you see it leading to?
We received an inquiry from Misrata Freezone and the agreement took some time to be done as we shared some conversations to settle some technical and commercial issues, after which we signed an agreement to supply them with two pilot boats. With this first agreement, another order for a tugboat followed which developed our partnership even further. I have to mention that we are also working with other Libyan companies which will certainly lead to securing successful agreements.
What challenges does Med Marine face as one of the leaders in the tugboat building sector?
The main issue is understanding your clients and their requirements very well, as every region and country has its different requirements. We try our best to meet their needs and the lead time for the vessel’s delivery. I believe we have a very good team and we are in a great position in the Middle East.
Technology and safety are two main significant factors in the industry. How are these two sides met by Med Marine?
We are working with new solutions and technologies on the market, such as autonomous tugs, alternative fuels like methanol and hydrogen and battery solutions as well, so all of these require safety aspects to ensure safe handling, such as hydrogen. So the safety aspect regarding the new technologies is a must and a priority to maintain the vessel’s readiness for any unexpected situations.
Does Med Marine have any upcoming expansion plans?
We are currently working on a workshop in Eregli Shipyard, which will increase Med Marine’s capabilities. We expect and aim to double our building capacity from 20-22 vessels to 30-35 vessels per year. This short-term plan is expected to be achieved in one or two years.
In the light of the huge expansion plans in the ports sector, how is Med Marine keeping an eye on the market opportunities?
We follow market news, as well as the expansion plans in every country, where we have agents giving monthly reports regarding all the updates. We also try to attend all exhibitions, and be in constant contact with port authorities, tugboat and towage operators as well, with regular visits onsite.
Med Marine shares a good partnership with Svitzer, how is this business supported between the two sides?
The partnership started with us delivering 2 ice class tugboats, which led to signing other contracts, where they had a closer look at our capabilities and professionalism, then tugboat orders just started to pile up after that. We look forward to continuing this partnership.
The ER94 tugboat launched last year was a success.Could you tell us more about this tugboat; how does Med Marine see this project?
It was a challenging project, and as far as I know, it is the most powerful tugboat design by Robert Allan. The tugboat, equipped with excellent manoeuvrability and 120 tons bollard pull capacity, was delivered at the beginning of this year. Nowadays this tugboat is considered very popular, especially in the African region, and we do get a lot of requests regarding chartering and new buildings. I can tell you that this tugboat served greatly in terms of publicity for Med Marine, Kenya Port Authority and Robert Allan.
What is Med Marine’s target for the coming period?
This year was one of the best years for Med Marine, we have delivered many orders, and many others are on the list, we expect the two coming years to be great as well, and there are some potential clients that we are having some talks with for future projects.
Robban Assafina Magazine, Issue 82, Nov./ Dec. 2022, Maritime Host, p.93