by Bruno Dabouis
Marine & Offshore France and North Africa
France has the second largest maritime domain – only the United States is responsible for more of the earth’s oceans and seas. It is natural then that France is home to world class marine companies in key strategic sectors. Names like Total, CMA CGM and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, Groupe Bourbon, Technip and GTT are world leaders.
These are just a few names in a dense and innovative cluster encompassing shipowning, finance, insurance, marine equipment, engineering and technology companies and, of course, shipbuilding.
This issue of VeriSTAR News focuses on French shipbuilders, profiling their diverse capabilities and their performance in both domestic and international markets. Bureau Veritas has been a cornerstone of the French maritime community in Paris since 1830. Today, we continue to help drive marine safety and sustainability, helping clients develop the technological innovations that improve safety and performance.
Euromaritime, in Paris (31 January to 2 February), will showcase the French Maritime Cluster, providing the opportunity to share new ideas and projects together in a professional and friendly manner. We look forward to seeing you there – please come and see us on our stand (F28).
Supersize cruise ships bring success
General Manager, STX France
When Laurent Castaing took the helm of STX France, it was something of a homecoming: the naval architect and graduate of France’s renowned Ecole Polytechnique engineering school spent the formative years of his career at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, before taking on roles in the rail sector, then as CEO of the Le Havre port. He returned to Saint-Nazaire five years ago this month as General Manager.
“I believe this yard has enormous potential, both in engineering and in construction”, explains Laurent. He has led a strategy to grow the business on three fronts: ship construction, fleet maintenance and technical innovation. STX France has also moved into new markets, such as Marine Renewable Energies.
But it is the construction of some of the world’s largest passenger ships that has sealed the group’s reputation. This includes a series of four extra-large ships for MSC Cruises, classed with Bureau Veritas.
“Our relationship with MSC goes back a long way: we have worked with them on three ship series. It’s a real partnership, and one that has been crucial for Saint-Nazaire and our 2,700 employees.”
The MSC Meraviglia, at over 315m long, will accommodate 5,700 passengers. Around 80% complete, it features new layouts of internal and external areas and launches this summer. The next two in the series feature lengthened designs approved by Bureau Veritas, and will be delivered in 2019. Further ships are planned up to 2026.
Laurent values the company’s relationship with Bureau Veritas, which goes back over 100 years. “There are very few classification societies with experience of large cruise ships and we need a competent partner”, says Laurent. “These are complex construction projects that demand real expertise. Bureau Veritas has strong technical skills, which they use to interpret the rules in new situations and work with us to find a solution.”
The French shipbuilding industry
There are two large shipbuilders in France: STX France, specialized in large luxury cruise vessels; and DCNS, a leader in naval vessels and submarines. Both are also at the forefront in serving the growing marine renewable energy sectors with tidal turbine designs as well as wind turbines.
There is also a good number of high tech medium size shipbuilders spread along the coastline. These competitive shipyards have managed to develop differentiated offers of ship types and technologies which are well recognized by both domestic and international clients.
Given the size of the French maritime domain (EEZ), the long term investments in marine renewable energies, and the competitive edge of the French shipbuilding cluster that exports 80% of its production, there is considerable potential for future growth. Bureau Veritas, as a world leading class society headquartered in France, will bring its dedicated support to this industry for safety and environmental compliance and assist in mastering quality and performance optimization with its growing consulting arms Tecnitas and HydrOcean.
CMN (Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie) based in Cherbourg is well known for trawlers, longliners and fast patrol boats, and has developed the very innovative trimaran fast interceptors Ocean Eagle based on composite hulls manufactured by H2X in La Ciotat.
Couach near Bordeaux, famous for yachts, is a specialist in composite vessels. They are currently building an impressive series of fast patrol boats for Saudi coastal waters.
Ocea a Vendean multi-sited group, specialized in aluminium ships, has established an edge in OPVs and hydrographic / oceanographic research vessels but also more traditional passenger and fishing boats.
Piriou established in Concarneau for 50 years, with facilities in Poland, Vietnam, Africa and, most recently, in Lorient, has broadened its expertise from fishing vessels to complex OPVs in collaboration with DCNS under the name Kership. They are also now in the exclusive arena of luxury exploration yachts with the Yersin delivered in 2015.
Socarenam Group managed from Boulogne-sur-Mer, having built a reputation on fishing boats and trawlers, has extended its footprint to naval patrol boats, coastal ferries, service vessels and, recently, naval landing craft.
“My Jobs:” THE new mobile application for Bureau Veritas ship surveyors
Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore has developed “My Jobs,” a mobile application for Ships in Service surveyors to assist our experts onboard and enable significant time-saving in reporting.
My Jobs enables surveyors to access the latest information on a mobile anytime and anywhere. All ship surveyors are using My Jobs mobile application to perform live reporting on the spot thanks to a smart and digital checklist.
My Jobs app facilitates the survey process from one end to another. During a survey, surveyors can now use their mobile device (smartphone or tablet) to review documents, define the scope of the survey and perform live reporting. The application also reduces paper processing onboard by introducing digital documents (Request For Surveys, Timesheets) with an electronic signature on the device.
My Jobs was designed with the help of 30 Bureau Veritas surveyors in 6 countries (Belgium, France, Greece, Netherlands, Singapore, United Kingdom). Now, after completion of a successful pilot phase, My Jobs first version is available for Android phones in Google Play Store in all countries.
So far, surveyors are enthusiastic about the application. 93% of surveyors interviewed during the pilot phase said that My Jobs is convenient to use in their daily work and 86% said it enables them to save time in reporting. “My Jobs offers new possibilities for surveyors […] It can become a great tool to assist the surveyor” (Bureau Veritas surveyor).
Furthermore, most of the surveyors believe the app has also a strong impact on our clients: “Clients are surprised and impressed with the application. My Jobs improves our image” (Bureau Veritas surveyor).
Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore is leading the Bureau Veritas group digital transformation. My Jobs mobile application is just one of the new digital initiatives launched in the last year, helping to improve our operational efficiency and deliver high quality services to our clients.
Innovating to stay ahead
Chairman & CEO, DCNS
A return to growth in defense projects is a clear opportunity for naval leader DCNS – but competition is also growing. Where once there were five main players, including DCNS, competitors from Russia and China have joined the big league. They will soon be joined by companies from India, Korea and Japan.
“Competition is getting more aggressive as defense budgets move back towards two percent of gross domestic product,” explains CEO Hervé Guillou. “We are seeing the return of the great powers: Russia has boosted its defense budget, China builds a submarine every four months, without mentioning India.”
Against this backdrop, DCNS is innovating, addressing what it sees as three critical challenges: an increase in data volumes, the acceleration of technological cycles and growing digital war operations.
“We are committed to investing in our technologies, and galvanizing the best of our expertise to deliver efficient and competitive vessels for our customers’ sovereignty.”
The group has had an “established and active” partnership with Bureau Veritas for several years. “Most recently, we have worked with Bureau Veritas on the development of rules for submarines. A cybersecurity certification project, focused on securing critical systems on military vessels, is also underway.”
All DCNS surface ships also conform to Bureau Veritas rules, including projects contracted and under construction such as the FREMM multi-mission frigates, Gowind® corvettes and Belh@rra®, a new medium-size frigate.
“As an objective third party, Bureau Veritas creates a level playing field,” says Hervé. “Our export clients appreciate the fact we apply standards that are not just internal or national, and which are updated based on client experience and according to new decisions from IMO.
Bureau Veritas’ global presence is also a major advantage, enabling us to offer our clients around the world products and systems that meet their specific regulatory requirements, and facilitate our supervision of our shipyard partners.”
Going for growth
Frédéric Moncany de Saint-Aignan
President of the French Maritime Cluster
It would be hard to find a more passionate advocate of the French maritime industry than Frédéric Moncany de Saint-Aignan. “Our industry is bigger than either aerospace or car manufacturing, yet we don’t have the same profile. I want to change that so that shipping gains its rightful place at the centre of France’s economic regeneration.”
As President of the French Maritime Cluster, Frédéric is in the right place to help bring about that change. His background as a merchant marine officer, principally on container ships, and later experience as harbor pilot at the port of Rouen have brought him into contact with most facets of the maritime industry. This made him a natural choice as President of the French Federation of Maritime Pilots in 2009 and, later, as head of the Cluster:
“For a long time I’d been firmly convinced that the maritime industry is one of France’s major assets, but one which has not been sufficiently promoted. We hold all the cards: the largest maritime territory in the world outside the United States, strong industrial expertise, and an enormous capacity for innovation.” Two figures sum up the industry’s importance: the 300,000 jobs it provides, and its €70bn output. “The issue, of course, is that there hasn’t been much growth.”
The Cluster, in which Bureau Veritas plays an active role, is spearheading plans to change that via a public-private taskforce. Launched by the French President in November 2016, it will work to an action plan, putting in place concrete projects to help the industry grow. Its aim: to match global growth forecasts by the OECD and double the size of the French maritime industry by 2030.
“The task force is about doing – it is not a talking shop. Projects will require financing, but we have strong backing from the public sector and everyone involved is committed to action.”
Frédéric sees several growth drivers. “Two factors have the potential to give us a real boost: training, and digital development. France also clearly has the potential to be a leader in emerging sectors such as marine renewable energy and biotechnologies.”
“Bureau Veritas’ experience in naval construction and maritime transport but also in these emerging sectors means it will play a vital role in the taskforce.”
He also underlines the major role played by shipyards: “Shipyards are among the most successful segments of the traditional French maritime industry and enjoy a strong reputation both at home and internationally. Their techniques are advanced and demonstrate a huge savoir-faire.”
Bureau Veritas Certification Scheme helps ‘de-risk’ Marine Renewable Energy Technologies
Bureau Veritas is taking a broad leadership position in the development of cleaner energy projects and technologies in the marine and offshore environments. Bureau Veritas certification in projects world-wide is helping reduce and manage risk as ocean engineering requirements evolve in the growing marine renewable energy sector.
BV’s new Certification Scheme for Marine Renewable Energy Technologies (NI 631) addresses a broad spectrum of the needs of marine renewable energy (MRE) businesses and projects. The certification scheme includes: project certification, for commercial farms of Marine Renewable Energy units, type approval and component certification for series production, prototype certification and Approval in Principle (AIPs) for new concepts.
The scheme covers floating offshore wind turbines; current and tidal turbines, including sea and river turbines; wave energy converters; and ocean thermal energy converters (OTECs).
“The marine renewables sector is growing in importance and we are helping de-risk these projects,” comments Matthieu de Tugny, Senior Vice President, Offshore Activities, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore.
With projects around the world, as well as in France, this is a growing and important sector for renewable energy. Examples of AIPs issued by Bureau Veritas in 2016 include: a floating OTEC platform in the Maldives for the Bardot Group; WindFloat, a floating foundation for a wind turbine project in the Mediterranean; and an OTEC platform project in Kiribati for KRISO.