Kongsberg Maritime (KM) has signed a contract to provide KM’s innovative new Extended Thruster Coverage (ETC) service programme to support two new ice-breaking escort tugs, currently in build at Sanmar shipyard for the Finnish towage company Alfons Håkans. The agreement covers the support of the tugs’ robust US255 thrusters and ND Aquapilot remote control systems.
ETC is an efficient, proactive new business model which replaces KM’s previous time- and material-based customer support approach with a fixed yearly fee. The new service programme’s reliance on increased OEM commitment, enhanced risk mitigation and long-term collaboration with customers is a transformative arrangement which will optimise fleet equipment maintenance standards across the tugboat industry.
The through-life support offered by the ETC programme will help ensure reliable harbour towage and ice-breaking operations for the two vessels, which will operate in the Finnish and Baltic seas. Tuomas Raumanen, Technical Manager at Alfons Håkans, says: “We have a long and intensive co-operation with KONGSBERG, and have over 20 tugs fitted with Kongsberg ASD units. Reliability is very good, but ETC will make it even higher, ensuring that the risk of unexpected service stops is very low and helping us to deliver the best possible service level to our customers. This contract will be beneficial to both parties both economically and technically, and we believe that this will be a turning point for whole industry as it moves towards long term service agreements.”
Ordering of spare parts and scheduling of fast-tracked maintenance intervals has traditionally been implemented by vessel crews on an ad hoc basis. However, this approach has often bred uncertainty over service availability in the event of unforeseen incidents, as well as concerns over potential price fluctuations. With ETC, a far greater degree of critical disruption risk is absorbed by Kongsberg Maritime through a fixed annual service fee, which accommodates both planned and unplanned maintenance over the entire lifecycle of customers’ KM thrusters.
Under the coverage terms, a proactive maintenance schedule leverages data from daily operations to assist in managing the planning of regular maintenance. The ETC also includes a commitment from KONGSBERG to supply all consumables and contingency parts to keep thrusters in a serviceable condition over the entire duration of the OEM warranty period, which could be anything from five to 15 years depending on the customer’s requirements.
This level of attention mirrors the technical and operational support provided throughout the agreement by a single point of contact from KM’s dedicated ETC management team. Transparency and close collaboration with customers and third parties are key principles: the project manager will maximise operational availability, and minimise maintenance time and cost, by planning docking, overhaul and service activities in consultation with vessel owners and shipyards.
“The signing of this, our first ETC contract, reflects KM’s increased focus and dedicated efforts towards strengthening our relationships with our customers of the tug segment,” says Odd Erik Bjørkevoll, Global Customer Support, Kongsberg Maritime.