Friday, March 24, 2023

Sarai Blanc: “No orders have been released but inflation makes it difficult to close new ships.”

The Basque Maritime Forum is a cluster that consults the interests of both shipyards (Murueta, Balenciaga and Zamakona) and other companies in the maritime world of the Dutch country. Its director Sarai Blanc from Getxo will deliver in a few months the official replacement to still manage the director Javier López de Lacalle, who is leaving the market due to unemployment. At the gates of the fair World Maritime Week, which will take place in the BEC on March 21 and 23, it highlights the opportunities that have been marked by the industrial transition to a sector still falling in La Naval.

What balance do you make in 2012, war, industrial crisis and growth?

The war affected shipyards, weapons manufacturers and auxiliary companies, although inflation did occur. It was a year of great uncertainty, but at the end of 2022 it was positive. The sector more than 18% more than in 2021 billed, some 3, 300 million of cash.

How many ships are now in balance?

The shipyard will start in 2023 with 14 ships, some of which have already started to be built. This workload throughout the year and 2024 is all that this entails when it comes to driving the entire energy industry. You need to store the ship between one and two years and dozens of supplies and services after that. You should appreciate what it means to hire a boat.

The sector billed 18% more in 2022 and is the workload for all of 2024

How much damage will the pandemic do?

Covid was the bane of all maritime transport. There was no demand for ships, but it can be said to be relatively successful. With such long production times, even though there was no new demand, the party could work on what it already had. After the pandemic boos in demand ships and with it for equipment and services.

Have jobs been released from growth?

No orders were repealed but there were difficulties in closing the deal, of course. Production costs had increased by 25% by mid-2022. With such long construction deadlines, this creates a lot of uncertainty when contracts are negotiated in time, since it is very difficult to predict anything about the final production.

Sarai Blanc, director of the maritime market, in an interview / Nacha Abaitua

What kind of boats is Basque country building now?

We are an expert in the construction of fishing vessels and are also well placed on the ground against the wind supporting the vessels. There is also a salvage ship in the portfolio, also a cargo … Murueta built the first hybrid tanks in Europe, for example. Our shipyard’s ability to innovate is key when it comes to attracting customers.

A shortage of workers? Welders, for?

Are there any lack of welders, lack of engineers … Not only in shipyards, but also in equipment, service, and maintenance providers. We will work with universities and vocational training centers to try to solve it, especially to attract young people and women.

Despite La Naval, we are not a sector in crisis; Euskadi refers to the technological level

And that in a territory with a great tradition like Euskadi, the cradle of icons like La Naval…

Reply to Objection 2: The lack of visibility can be considered. Although the Basque country has a great maritime tradition, perhaps the maritime part is not so well known to young people. Of course, what did not happen at La Naval gives a bad picture of the crisis. But I have it: we are a sound activity with a lot to say, especially in terms of sustainability, energy efficiency and green propulsion.

Of course, sustainable mobility also includes boats.

Euskadi is a reference to technology and innovation. We have major companies in the second trend, others with connectivity projects for autonomous navigation and shipyards with a lot of knowledge and a great ability to innovate. We can design, build, install and operate a boat made in Euskadi up to 95%. There are many regions, even nations, that do not have it, and we do not always appreciate it.

We can have a ship 95% made in Euskadi; There are many countries that cannot say

The maritime market also promotes hydrogen projects both for generation itself and for transportation.

It is important that the investor is interested in investing for the purposes and that he is interested. It will be one of the green fuel for ships and also for the rest of the industry. Above all, this is going to be the biggest challenge for the shipping market.

Will this soon-to-be-discovered hydrogen technology be able to power a ship?

The liquid hydrogen cargo ships have already been completed by the Kawasaki Heavy Industries shipyard in Japan. If it exists, it should improve the technology and establish a regulatory and security framework for its extensive development.

Is there talk of a hydrogen car, a hydrogen train… Is a hydrogen ship near?

Now the fuel is used in the cells and I don’t think it will be long. I dare say we will see in a period of time that will not be long.

The director of the Maritime Forum, Sarai Blanc, in conversation / Nacha Abaitua

Outside the shipyards, the world of renovations is key to extracting historic firms such as Navacel or Vicinay.

Both are doing well because they are putting a lot of effort into innovation and diversifying on the offshore wind. A good part of the naval value chain has been located in the country itself for some time. I believe very well that the industrial and technological capacity of the Basque Country will allow us to invest in the development of wind farms that will be built on the coast of Spain next year.

We are well positioned for the development of wind power off the coast of Spain

In the case of the Basque coast, do you see floating wind power as a realistic alternative?

I trust our industry. Floating wind power is going to be a very powerful market.

Let’s go to La Naval, we will see the ships built in those countries?

Its closure caused a lot of damage in the area. It was an image and it was pulling other auxiliary teams to close. It is clear that priority should be given to those projects that need to be repaired or built.

Sarai Blanc, director of the Maritime Forum / Nacha Abaitua

The Maritime Forum is working with other cluster territories to help companies access Perth. Can this opportunity be missed?

The project process is very complex due to the requirements of the call. Most of our companies have difficulty doing projects of the volume required by Perth. We accompany the companies from the Maritime Market so that they can take advantage of the opportunity and, well, even if they have fallen, we hope that they will come up with interesting plans for the province in Basque Country.

The port of Bilbao, one of the epicenters of maritime energy, wants to be an ecosystem closely related to renewable energy. Is this a good broker?

Certainly. The port is an industrial agent for the maritime and maritime sector. In addition, with regard to renewables, there are many companies in the region that are involved in the renewable value chain, both in the construction of structures and equipment, as well as in the installation and maintenance of underground wind farms. Anything related to the development of innovations is beneficial to us and we praise the role of the port in establishing itself as an energy center.

Nation World News Desk
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