EDITORIAL

Back on track

While the biggest buzz surrounding Finnish maritime has involved the Turku shipyard, there has been a stream of positive news from the neighbouring shipyard of Rauma, as well. Since breaking away from STX in 2014, Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) has quickly made a name for itself as a capable builder and project manager.

In November 2018, the wholly Finnish-owned shipbuilding company signed a letter of intent with Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command for the construction of four corvettes for the Finnish Navy. The contract for the construction of the vessels will be signed in early 2019.

Earlier, in October, RMC and Tallink announced a letter of intent for a new high-speed car and passenger ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn. RMC promises it can deliver on simultaneous orders: according to the plan, Tallink’s car and passenger ship will be delivered at the end of 2021, and the construction of the corvettes will begin in 2020 and last until 2027. The commercial vessels and the corvettes are to be built alongside one another, but kept completely separate as there are, for instance, various security reasons to consider.

In the light of these news, it’s no big surprise that Rauma Marine Constructions is currently seeking more employees. The company expects to grow significantly in the coming years due to its new orders – and the eventual goal is to become a world-leading shipyard.

Also the entire Finnish maritime cluster seems to be pursuing growth opportunities presently. In August 2018, a new maritime business accelerator programme started in Finland in order to add some startup smarts to – already formidable – industry muscle.

In Maritime Accelerator, traditional maritime industry players operating on global markets – such as shipyards, design agencies and shipping companies – search for new ideas and partnerships among smaller growth companies. The ideas may be related to, for instance, material and sensor technologies, robotics, sustainable development, or logistics solutions.

The partner companies in the first programme are Wärtsilä, Royal Caribbean, Meyer Turku, Foreship, NAPA Group, and CADMATIC, all of them representing the leading edge in the world in their respective fields. The accelerator programme is implemented by the regional development company Turku Science Park.

The Finnish maritime cluster doesn’t really need a dictionary to distinguish between ‘pilot’ and ‘pivot,’ since innovation is very much the lifeblood of the entire industry. Still, bringing in some fresh brains will probably help, too.

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