Integration of ecosystems
Amid the growing geopolitical tension Russian shipbuilding is keeping its way towards closer integration with Finland, its historical partner in this industry. Arctech shipyard was earlier consolidated under the control of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation. Now, Russian company Transas is acquired by Finland’s Wärtsilä.
Russia and Finland have been cooperating in shipbuilding (primarily in construction of icebreakers) from the Soviet period. In late 2014, United Shipbuilding Corporation of Russia (USC) consolidated 100% of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, which is intensely involved in execution of USC orders.
Now, the technology group Wärtsilä (Finland) has announced the acquisition of Transas, a company of Russian origin, specializing in development of e-navigation solutions, simulators and other innovative products for shipping. According to the statement, the transaction valued at MEUR 210 will speed Wärtsilä along its path towards its Smart Marine Ecosystem vision through interaction of vessels and port terminals based on data integration and cloud-based technology. Creation of such an ‘ecosystem’ will let decrease the costs related to interaction between vessels and terminals, reduce the time of those operations and contribute to optimization of fuel consumption. In other words, that provides for data exchange automation which, with proper business process, will let save time and finances needed for port and logistic operations. Introduction of such systems will contribute to attractiveness of seaborne transport and provide a competitive advantage to pioneers on this way.
In 2017, in Saint-Petersburg, Transas presented the world’s first fully integrated package of solutions for e-navigation to put into practice its THESIS strategy (Transas Harmonised Eco System of Integrated Solutions). THESIS ensures on-line interaction and data exchange between vessels, vessel traffic services, shore-based offices and shipping company’s operation centers. THESIS is based on a platform allowing for remote control of administrative processes, both for individual ships and the entire fleet of a shipping company.
Practical application of THESIS is underway. More than 20 vessels of ARC class intended for operation under the Yamal LNG project have been fitted or being fitted with navigation equipment of Transas.
Installation of a vessel traffic control system by Transas specialists is underway at the port of Sabetta. It will ensure monitoring of the nearshore zone and permanent navigation assistance to vessels passing the Gulf of Ob to/from the port’s water area.
Moreover, in early April 2018 Transas is going to present a new package of cloud-based applications for the maritime sector known as A-Suite based on electronic chart display and information system (Transas ECDIS) to help interaction of watch officers with ships and shore-based centers.
It should be noted that in his annual address to the Federal Assembly Russian President Vladimir Putin was speaking about the necessity of a breakthrough in Russian economy. In shipbuilding it should be achieved through introduction of the latest technologies of unmanned shipping, e-navigation and automation.
Acquisition of Transas by the Finnish company will let build up the competence in this sphere through exchange of experience. In the future, it can facilitate Wärtsilä localization in Russia.
When speaking with IAA PortNews, Nikolai Shablikov, Deputy Head of the Department of Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, RF Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that “the Russian company is certainly interesting for the foreign corporation as a high technology asset”.
Sergey Buyanov, Director General of Central Marine Research and Design Institute (CNIIMF) says this transaction will contribute to expansion of Wärtsilä’s business since Transas is a successful supplier of digital equipment. “It is the growth of Wärtsilä business, expansion into new sales markets including those in Russia”, Sergey Buyanov told IAA PortNews.
Transas is not the only company in Russia to focus on innovations in shipping and shipbuilding. The work on the project for construction of an unmanned cargo ship is being performed by Krylov State Research Center, Central Marine Research and Design Institute, CNIIMF, RAS Institute of Oceanology and Shipbuilding Center ‘Evers’. Specifications for construction of a ship and a shore-based control center are expected in 2019.
Besides, automation of dredgers and designing of an unmanned dredger is among the activities of Nonius Engineering. In the future, unmanned dredgers can be integrated into an intelligent network, ‘an ecosystem’. According to experts, automated modules can be manufactured separately from vessels to ensure their operational flexibility.
The interest of leading international companies to Russian providers of innovative solutions for shipping and related industries suggests that Russia has a high level of competence in this area.