SMM Exclusive: Lankhorst Ropes Grows Steadily
During the leading trade fair for the maritime industry, SMM 2014, being held in Hamburg, our team got the chance to speak with Mr. Wilco Stroet, Managing Director of Lankhorst Ropes, a world-wide supplier of rope and ships mooring lines.
Hereby we’re bringing you a part of the conversation.
As an introduction to our readers, what can you tell us about Lankhorst Ropes? What is the main focus of the Company?
Wilco Stroet: Lankhorst Ropes is an old company which started in 1803. We started with natural fibers and evaluated ourselves in the last two hundred years as a technical leader when it comes to synthetic moorings, including moorings of container ships, moorings of navy ships, towing lines and deepwater moorings.
We are active now in two segments, the maritime market and the offshore market.
In the offshore market we are supplying heavy lifting slings, SPM (single point mooring) and deepwater mooring.
In one sentence we are the technical leader in the world when it comes to synthetic ropes.
What can you tell us about Lankhorst’s latest projects in subsea industry?
Wilco Stroet: We supply mooring ropes for big FPSOs, for instance recently we have done mooring of Goliath in the Barents Sea.
We have done the Heidelberg project in Gulf of Mexico and at this moment we are building the Aasta Hansteen project for Statoil. It includes big polyester ropes that weight at least 60-80 tones and are used for permanent mooring.
Not so long ago your Company received renewed ISO 9001: 2008 certification, could you tell us how important it is for you to maintain the leading level in your sector?
Wilco Stroet: ISO for itself is not that important, what is important is that you have a good health and safety system and a good quality system. ISO is just a certificate. For us the mentality of the people in the factory is much more important.
Offshore is critical, we have a lot of liabilities so it is extremely important that you manage the whole process very well from the start of the contract until the product is released to the customer.
Sometimes this could take up to 18 months and in those 18 months of production you really have to guaranty the quality of the production and not only the products and the materials but also the people who are working on the project.
You’re very well known in the industry by your mooring products, do you have some plans to release new products to the market in the near future?
Wilco Stroet: We plan to launch a cran wire with the length of 3500 meters which will be supplied through the crane company in Singapore so that you can do deepwater projects in a much cheaper way than the traditional steel wire.
During the exhibition Lankhorst also launched KO-LINK, towing ring, developed in cooperation with international maritime service provider KOTUG International BV.
KO-LINK is a highly polished, lightweight, aluminium ring, which is inserted and attached to the splice eye of the towline. The ring connects the main towline and the pennant in such a way that a controlled weak link is created, preventing towing-line overload.
The KO-LINK can be used with all types of synthetic rope, and is available for rope diameters from 54mm to 189mm, covering the whole range of synthetic towing ropes.
You have a few facilities in the European region, and a lot of sales offices throughout the world; do you plan to open more facilities?
Wilco Stroet: I think at this moment we’re covering the world. We have a facility in Brazil so we cover the South American market via Brazil.
We have several sales offices in the US so we cover the US quite well. I’m also happy with the situation in Africa, and people working through Africa.
Europe of course is extremely well covered. Maybe we should open something in Korea, I think that would be the next step.
We have some people in Asia working from Beijing and Singapore, but I think Korea should be our next target.
Are you satisfied with the market share that you take right now?
Wilco Stroet: Our owners are never satisfied and they always want to grow the market share.
We see a steady growth and I prefer a steady growth instead of big growth because maritime and offshore customers are demanding and it’s important that you fulfill those demands.
If you grow too fast and you don’t do the projects well at the end of the day you’ll only lose customers, so we want to grow in a steady way.
We are building new facilities and if you look to the products inside we invest a lot in new equipment, in new capacity and we want to do it step by step.
What are your impressions about this year’s SMM, are you satisfied with the cooperation opportunities that you had until now?
Wilco Stroet: What we like about SMM is that it is an international fair so you have a lot of international customers, everybody is coming.
I like to have exhibitions which are specialized, for instance the Offshore Energy, where we will have a big booth for the first time. I like that kind of fairs because it is very specialized and this is a little more broth but it is still a good show.
In general I like to do specialized shows like the Offshore Energy, OTC, OESA. We reduced the amount of shows that we’re doing but we’re going for the big ones or the most specialized ones.
Would you like to add something?
Wilco Stroet: I think what is interesting to add is that we have a very sustainable way of running our company. We have a lot of recycling programs, and we have our own solar collectors on the factories. I’m very proud of that because in my opinion we’re working with a lot of limited resources and it is important to be careful with the Earth, to be careful with your people and of course to make decent profit so we’re really running the company in a sustainable way where people profit.
Subsea World News Staff, September 15, 2014