Ron F. Anderson, executive director, talks about how the diversification of the company has helped it become globally recognised as a builder of first-class vessels.
Australia’s maritime history is closely linked to the global spread of mankind across the oceans. From the first Pacific island mariners who engineered the earliest vessels capable of travelling thousands of kilometres, up to as recently as the 1950s, Australia’s history of trade, colonisation and settlement was dependent upon its maritime activities. The significance of the country’s maritime past can still be seen today in the form of its new generation of shipbuilders.
A dynamic, Western Australian shipbuilding and engineering company, Strategic Marine boasts an ever-growing reputation for producing quality, high performance vessels that service markets all around the globe. “Known for never compromising on quality under any circumstance,” explains Ron F. Anderson, executive director, “Strategic Marine is recognised globally for being the very best at what it does.”
With its origins in Geraldton Boat Builders, one of Australia’s leading aluminium shipbuilders, Strategic Marine was incorporated in 2001. In the time since, it has produced more than 400 vessels, focusing on offshore crew boats, support vessels and high-speed patrol boats. In recent years, the company’s portfolio has grown and seen its capabilities expand to offer larger, purpose-built and designed steel vessels.
Employing over 1000 staff, the company presently operates facilities in Australia, Singapore, Vietnam and Mexico. Across each of these locations, the industry sectors in which Strategic Marine has been experiencing the greatest levels of growth include the military and oil and gas.
As issues such as terrorism continue to bring trauma to different parts of the world, countries have made decisive moves to boost their security infrastructure. “Strategic Marine has a long, proven track record of delivering craft used for security purposes,” Anderson continues. “To date it has built 60 vessels for the Singapore Police Coastguard, 15 for the Royal Malaysian Police and over 250 patrol boats in various models to customers in Nigeria. What makes the latter figure all the more impressive is that these vessels were successfully delivered over a four year period between 2004 and 2008.”
When it comes to the oil and gas sector, the company continues to benefit from a growing demand for utility vessels, crew boats, PSVs and other such craft. One current project involves the building of two, 40 metre vessels for Syarikat Borcos. These vessels will join the nine, fast, crew utility boats that Strategic Marine has already delivered to the company and have been put to use in nearby oil fields.
Throughout its relatively short history, the company has strived to diversify and expand in such a way that it is able to service the changing demands of customers around the world. The most recent example of this ability to adapt and grow is currently underway as Strategic Marine looks to enter into the ferry building business. Much like its activities in other industry sectors, this work will take place on an international scale and will see the company utilise its proven ability to deliver customer-specific, purpose-built vessels of the highest order.
Today, Strategic Marine also finds itself pushing heavily into the offshore wind farm market. “As part of the company’s strategy to further diversify,” Anderson says, “it has entered into a teaming agreement with UK-based vessel design company BMT.” Signed in October 2011, this arrangement has already begun benefitting both parties, with Strategic Marine in the process of building the first run of boats under this partnership in Singapore.
“The teaming agreement with BMT is one that both companies see as delivering long term success,” Anderson enthuses. “On one hand, Strategic Marine is able to turn to BMT to gain access to its many different vessel designs. Meanwhile, BMT now has the opportunity to partner Strategic Marine on all manner of different undertakings. It is the two-way nature of this relationship that has both companies very excited about what the future holds.”
The company’s move into the offshore wind sector went a step further in May 2012, when it announced the signing of a sales and service agency agreement with the marine and repair company, Testbank Ship Repair. As a part of its commitment to establishing a network of sales and service agents, this partnership will see the two companies working together to provide marine, ship repair and through life support services to offshore wind clients.
“What this partnership demonstrates,” Anderson says, “is the commitment that Strategic Marine has to the European offshore wind market. It highlights that the company is not merely there to sell boats. In addition to this, it is also concerned with making sure that its vessels have a long, successful life after they have been delivered.”
By providing its clients with turnkey shipbuilding, planned maintenance and ship repair services, Strategic Marine is able to add real value to the vessels it delivers to the region. “Depending upon where the company takes its operations in the years to come,” Anderson highlights, “it fully expects to build on the success it has had with Testbank Ship Repair by forming similar alliances with other such companies.”
The business model that Strategic Marine has developed and adapted over its lifetime has undoubtedly brought it great success and will remain as the backbone of the company as it continues to evolve. “The issue of pricing within the market remains an important factor when it comes to winning projects,” Anderson concludes. “However, it has been Strategic Marine’s long-held belief that service and quality are paramount to a company’s prosperity, and will remain so for the foreseeable future.”
Written by Will Daynes, research by Jeff Abbott