Denis Samsikov: “Okskaya Sudoverf has upgraded its facilities and increased the backlog of orders by its 110th anniversary”
Okskaya Sudoverf is among the most dynamically developing shipyards in Russia. In his interview with IAA PortNews, Executive Director of the shipyard Denis Samsikov tells about implementation of the programme on modernization of production facilities, current and expected orders, financial and other aspects of the company activities in the year of its 110th anniversary.
— Mr Samsikov, which achievements of Okskaya Sudoverf by the shipyard’s anniversary would you emphasize?
— We have a lot to be proud of. First of all, production facilities of the company have undergone great reconstruction in recent years. Almost the entire shipbuilding complex has been upgraded including the line for metal preparation and cutting, painting and welding equipment. We have also modernized our energy infrastructure. As of today, Okskaya Sudoverf is among the best shipbuilding companies of Russia, it firmly holds the second position in terms of construction volumes across the country.
The shipyard initially focused on serial production of transport cargo ships has recently mastered the manufacture of sophisticated vessels like catamaran SDS-18 and specialized ship Ecolog.
The company has extensive plans for the future. Keeping building new types of cargo ship the shipyard does not neglect other segments of the market including the fishing industry. We will continue developing our shipbuilding facilities, investing in machine building, renovation of equipment, modernization of foundry production. We are looking into different variants of partnership focused on development of import substitution to manufacture equipment at our free production facilities. The high level achieved by the shipyard lets us solve the most challenging tasks on construction of sophisticated vessels with an established level of quality, high responsibility for the result, strict observance of schedule and at a price, optimal for the customers.
— What is the share of domestic equipment used by the company today?
— The bulk of equipment used for metal working and metal cutting operations is of foreign origin. Paint shops are of our own production. Welding equipment for a great modernization of our facilities was supplied last year by a Nizhny Novgorod company, with which we are going to cooperate in the future.
When selecting the vendors we primarily focus on the economic factor.
Domestic manufacturers offered equipment and services suitable in terms of payment, delivery terms, cost and characteristics. So we hope to continue our work involving not only imported equipment. For example, when looking into modernization of foundry facilities today, we are planning installation of domestic equipment.
— Does the qualification of the shipyard personnel meet the new equipment? How is the general situation with the personnel?
— The shipyard has enough qualified employees able to perform virtually any operations.
Of course, the personnel deficiency is always a problem. It is topical in terms of both workers and engineers. It is a subject of permanent attention for our personnel department. The company is working with personnel available at the labor market today. If necessary, we attract sub-contractors. We can cope with it so far.
The level of salaries of the shipyard personnel depends on the loading and the qualification.
— What is the prospective backlog of orders?
— As of today, we are nearing the signing of a number of contracts which will ensure the shipyard’s high load for two-three years. There are plans for additional orders. Since Okskaya Sudoverf has been historically specializing on civil shipbuilding the backlog of orders has plunged for a while, but I’m sure it is a temporary situation. Our products are in demand and they are of high quality. We can build within short period of time and the customers appreciate it.
— What about the implementation of the current orders?
— We are about to deliver the catamarans to Rosmorrechflot’ Sea Rescue Service. They are sophisticated vessels. The customers like to award us with challenging projects for construction of lead ships … The ship designed by Marine Engineering Bureau is full with equipment and systems and we are proud to have it built within just a year. We are currently discussing a possibility of building a series of such ships.
— Does your company work with private customers?
— We had some series for private customers. This year we have delivered two chemical carriers of a five-ship series started in 2016 for B.F.Tanker. We hope for further cooperation with private companies, the more so as there are many requests from them. The key profile of our company is the ships of sea-river class which, in the nearest future, will be in demand in the market amid the plans on the entire fleet renovation. As you know, many Russian ships have considerably exceeded their designed service life. They do not comply with the current safety requirements being both worn out and outdated. According to Gennady Yegorov, Head of Marine Engineering Bureau, about a half of river going vessels will leave the market in the nearest future due to their functional obsolescence. Many of those ships are 40-50 years old. Today, the key problem for customers is the high cost of fund raising.
— You have told about the shipyard’s equipment renovation. Are there any problems with supplies? Which components and materials of Russian origin meet the quality requirements?
— We do not have any problems with supplies. As for domestic suppliers, it is clear that metal is Russian. Components, cables, fittings, electronic and electric components can be supplied by domestic companies, which is actually done upon the customers’ approval. If Russian suppliers ensure the required quality and competitive prices, they will be awarded with the contracts.
Serial production is a challenge for Russian suppliers. Companies with large backlog of orders which supply their systems across the world have a low unit value of output. Russian suppliers limited by a domestic market find it difficult to compete in terms of prices in civil shipbuilding.
— We would like to speak about the financial aspect. Could you, please tell about cooperation with STLC and about financing of orders in general?
— STLC is a professional company the activities of which are focused on the development of Russia’s transport industry. Our cooperation is successful, it is constructive and operationally efficient when it comes to current issues. Everything is clear, detailed and done in a businesslike manner with mutual understanding and in-depth knowledge of the process.
Financial problems are associated with different things — the value of money which is not determined by STLC but depends on the market situation, the rates and the state policy I this sphere. Unfortunately, I cannot praise today’s application of the mechanism which proved itself earlier – covering of interest rates, while the utilization grant is certainly not sufficient to compensate for fleet decommissioning. Our customers are waiting for the situation to change, for loan interest rates to decrease, for their compensation mechanism to work smoothly. If it happens, our order backlog will be quite big. It is time to try making money off volumes, rather than off prices.
— The Russian Government is currently looking into expansion of the ‘under keel quota’ programme through inclusion of crab ships into it. Is your shipyard ready to build such vessels?
— Yes. We are “on the starting blocks” and we are waiting for the decision. The negotiations have been held already and approximate cost of building a crab ship designed by Nordic Engineering has been determined. The technological infrastructure of Okskaya Sudoverf lets it build such vessels at prices interesting for customers. When fully loaded, the shipyard can annually build 10-12 vessels of this size.
— Will you be able to build a ferry for the Far East if you are offered?
— It is not a small vessel but it will fit into our facilities. Okskaya Sudoverf is well placed to build such a ferry with proper quality and deliver it on time.
— Can you build LNG-powered vessels?
— We have been considering the variants of building such vessels and I can say for sure – yes, we can do that. It is not the matter of shipbuilding, it is a matter of economic and technical reasonability, including availability of the required infrastructure. We have no technological problems in this area.
— Is construction of bunkering tankers successful as well?
— The bunkering tanker built by our shipyard has been successfully operating at the port of Tuapse. Our offer on bunkering tankers is competitive in terms of prices.
— What about passenger ships?
— It depends on customers and state support. We are ready to build such ships, their designs have been developed by the shipyard. In particular, our offer to build a passenger ship of project PV-300 was highly competitive. Okskaya Sudoverf offers turn-key construction including fitting out. We are currently in negotiations with some customers representing the sector of passenger transportation. The key challenge here is the high cost of vessels and long money. Generally speaking, it’s all about long and cheap money in shipbuilding, like in any other capital-intensive industry.
Interviewed by Nadezhda Malysheva
Victor Olersky, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation – Head of the Federal Marine and River Transport Agency
Victor Olersky, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation – Head of the Federal Marine and River Transport Agency, send a telegram of congratulations to the management and the team of Okskaya Sudoverf JSC on the occasion of its 110th anniversary.
Dear colleagues and friends!
With all my heart I congratulate you on the 110th anniversary of your wonderful company’s fruitful activities. Throughout its history which exceeds a century the company had different names but was always true to its mission – building of perfect river ships and ships of mixed sea/river navigation for Russia and, when necessary, performing challenging military orders, precisely within the time limits.
Navashino Shipyard, currently known as Okskaya Sudoverf JSC, a company with a special history and fighting spirit has always been looking for new shipbuilding technologies. In our country, it has traditionally been the first to master building new ships and manufacturing new products: oil barges, lumber carriers, boxships, tank landing hydrofoils, floating bridges, pontoon sections, etc.
The fate of the shipbuilding company located thousands kilometers from the sea strongly depends on the state and fluctuations of our inland water transport and I know firsthand that Navashino shipbuilders have frequently had to demonstrate special efforts, will and character to preserve a unique team, an acknowledged engineering school and the very heart of the hi-tech shipbuilding in the center of the Volga Region.
Today, your company, the largest tax donor of the Navashino District, one of the shipbuilding leaders of a large fast-developing holding, continues modernization of its infrastructure and equipment as well as renovation of its product range. Your positive financial result of 2016 was good news for the entire industry.
In its turn, Rosmorrechflot clearly understands the necessity of serial and ‘long’orders for Navashino shipbuilders to consolidate this progress. The main thing is to ensure steady demand for ships of river and mixed sea/river navigation. For that purpose we have to create conditions for return of bulk cargo to inland water ways within a short period of time. I would like to assure you, that RF Ministry of Transport is aware of its responsibility and considers this task as a top priority.
Once again, congratulations on the anniversary, wishing the Navashino shipbuilders retain and develop wonderful traditions of their company. May you and yours be healthy and prosperous, continue the existing and create new labour dynasties here, in the very heart of Russia.