Every detail matters!

Jul 21, 2021 | Featured Article, Opinion

Every detail matters!

BLRT Repair Yards are members of the BLRT Grupp holding and have three shipyards – Tallinn Shipyard in Estonia, Western Shiprepair in Lithuania, and Turku Repair Yard in Finland explains BLRT Repair Yards CEO – Andrejus Babachinas.

What are the yards’ main activities?

Design and technical support, repair, maintenance and retrofit of different types of vessels are the yards` main activities, and are provided at the highest level. Each subsidiary of BLRT Grupp holding is a reliable partner in its field – whether it is shipbuilding or ship repair, manufacturing of high-technology equipment and sophisticated metal structures, rolled metal products and metalworking services, mechanical engineering, gases production and sale, scrap collection and processing, transport services, port and other services, real estate development.

 How has this changed in recent years?

Over the past few years, the BLRT Grupp has focused on the development of ship repair business and has implemented multi-million-dollar investment projects. In 2020, the list of docks at Western Shiprepair in Klaipeda was enlarged with two additional floating units. The capacity increase opened up new opportunities for shipowners and operators to carry out repair and modernisation projects on Aframax, Panamax and Post Panamax vessels.

BLRT Repair Yards in numbers:

  • Three countries
  • Seven docks
  • 700 employees
  • At 235m х 45m, the largest floating dock in the Baltics
  • At 265m х 70m х 7.9m, it has one of the largest drydocks in Northern Europe.

How have you been coping during the pandemic?

In 2020, despite the pandemic and travel restrictions, BLRT Repair Yards managed to keep the tempo up and even got a chance to increase the volume of workload. Thanks to all docks being operational, we hope to achieve new activity records in 2021. It is estimated that the yards’ performance results will increase by several tens of percent.

Of course, it wasn’t easy to get used to the new rules and regulations and all those precautions. That was new for everybody, and we simply had to do our best to keep our employees and customers safe and healthy. The yards have developed numerous internal regulations which helped us secure a stable situation within the companies.

In the second quarter of 2020, as a result of restrictions and lockdowns in many countries, the volume of repair and modernisation projects on passenger ferries and cruise ships, as well as their construction, fell sharply. With the growth of the freight market and lack of travelling opportunities for superintendents and technical personnel, many cargo vessel owners have postponed repairs to a later date.


Has the situation been improving more recently?

The first few weeks of this spring were extremely busy, with all seven BLRT Repair Yards docks accommodating new arrivals for repairs, conversion and retrofit projects.

There were a variety of types of ships: everything from cargo, multipurpose and offshore supply vessels to tankers and dredgers calling at our ports, and the complexity of projects performed gave us the opportunity to apply our experience and knowledge, as well as hone and improve our skills.

BLRT Repair Yards are so excited to start new relations with shipping companies we have never had a chance to work with before. So, we are making great efforts, such as taking environmentally-friendly steps, which include investing in modern equipment and new technologies for vessel cleaning, dock modernisations and much more.


Are you currently seeing any repair trends?

Recently, a lot of projects have been associated with the installation of BWTS. This is due to the adoption of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) convention. In accordance with the convention, ships must be equipped with the appropriate system by September 2024. Therefore, this trend is current and will continue to be fundamental for several more years.

Customers such as Royal Wagenborg, Spliethoff, Stolt-Nielsen, Utkilen, Anthony Veder and other partners have trusted the installation of such equipment to our group of yards. Turning to us, the client receives a complete solution: we help the customer to choose equipment which is most suitable for his vessel type. After 3D scanning, we develop a detailed design for its installation and then manufacture the pipe systems and other essential equipment. Often, equipment is installed where it was not intended to be, which can be a definite challenge for the shipyard. Depending on the type of vessel, it is necessary to think over all the details. For example, in the case of tankers, special attention needs to be paid to fire safety, and on some vessels you have to build superstructures, etc. All these issues are successfully resolved, and the customer receives the entire package of documentation.


What about more unusual projects?

An extraordinary project that is worth mentioning is the world’s first self-propelled icebreaker bow, which was built by BLRT Repair Yards in Turku, Finland for the Finland for the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
The project came about through the competence and hard work of several companies in the holding. The working project was developed by Western Baltic Engineering, the hull of the bow was built by shipbuilders from Western Baltija Shipbuilding in Lithuania, and all the work related to project completion fell on the shoulders of our specialists in Turku, who also modernised a tug.

The bow is able to break ice up to 70cm thick, and forms a sufficiently wide channel for the passage of large-tonnage vessels.

The bow of the icebreaker with a diesel-electric power plant, working in connection with a tug, has successfully completed its duties during the navigation period in 2020/2021 in the Lake Saimaa area in southeastern Finland.

In short, increased perspectives of different ship repair and retrofit projects allow us to secure a solid position in the demanding ship repair market. BLRT Repair Yards will continue to follow a set course and implement technologically complex and ambitious projects for various purposes.

How would you sum up the BLRT advantage?

The entire BLRT Repair Yards is a result-oriented team assuring best possible results through detailed work planning and close cooperation of every person involved – from engineers, designers and executives to shop personnel.

BLRT Repair Yards are set to do their job in a way that secures returning customers. Today, future trends make it clear that it is not enough to talk about our capabilities and capacities, it’s necessary to show that every detail matters!