Safety and service take priority despite economic and regulatory pressures

An engineer from Schat-Harding attends to maintenance of lifeboat mechanisms An engineer from Schat-Harding attends to maintenance of lifeboat mechanisms

Lifeboat and davit manufacturer Umoe Schat-Harding says the prolonged worldwide industry and economic downturn has led some owners to look for cheaper alternatives when it comes to sourcing safety equipment and expertise.

The company adds that, over a period of time, it invariably transpires that these alternatives are more costly in the long run, and that customers usually return to their tried and trusted equipment and service provider.

David Torres, vice-president, sales, at Umoe Schat-Harding, says: “This year Schat-Harding has seen the return of more and more owners and operators, and has witnessed a significant increase in the number of customers worldwide signing up for fleet service agreements. We believe this is due in part to our own extensive efforts at improving our service offering and our focus on customer needs. But we also feel that owners and operators are increasingly beginning to realise that it is cost-effective to have their equipment regularly maintained by a leading original equipment manufacturer which additionally has the ability to provide the same level of service excellence in connection with other brands.”

Although increasingly stringent regulation places an onerous burden on the industry, Schat-Harding believes that this affects its business in a positive way. It understands that it is part of its commitment to the industry to help owners and operators achieve compliance with regulations. There are lots of vessels in the market which currently require servicing. Schat-Harding also notes that there is a comparatively low level of repair work it has to do once it is on board a vessel because owners are focusing closely on properly maintained equipment.

Despite this, however, Schat-Harding believes that owners are opting for its services because of their desire for technical expertise and familiarity with multi-brand services, rather than as a result of regulatory demands. It recognises the impact of the global economic downturn in the shipping industry, with more and more operators vying for the same contract. The company understands that owners and operators need to secure every employment opportunity they can, and that once they have done so, they cannot afford any detentions or delays. Mr Torres says: “By opting for a fleet service contract with Schat-Harding, owners can get access to the expertise which will enable them to predict maintenance expenditure and to avoid costly delays.”

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