Tokyo – ClassNK, the world’s leading classification society and the only one with more than 200 million gross tons on its register, today signaled the beginning of a new era in Germany and on the global stage.
Chairman and President Noboru Ueda presided over a special signing ceremony at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Hamburg where leading German companies RHL Reederei Hamburger Lloyd GmbH & Co. KG, BF Shipmanagement GmbH & Co. KG and Johann M. K. Blumenthal GmbH & Co. KG officially transferred a total of 8 vessels to the ClassNK register.
The official transfer marked the success of the decision last November to establish a new section of the Society’s Survey Department in Hamburg with senior staff from Tokyo in order to provide better service to German ship owners. This marked the first time the Society had placed head office management staff and functions outside of Japan, greatly strengthening ClassNK’s presence in Hamburg where the Society has been active for three decades.
“It gives me great pride to say, that as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the opening of our office here in Hamburg this year, we are also marking our greatest success in Germany to date, and it is our great pleasure to be standing here alongside some of the finest companies in the German maritime industry, ” Mr. Ueda said.
“The vessels we welcome into the ClassNK register today are the strongest evidence of the success of efforts which we began here in Hamburg less than a year ago to revolutionize the way we operate.
“I believe that today’s signing ceremonies are an important step forward, not only here in Germany, but for our activities around the world. In turn, I think they are evidence of the strong foundation we are building for our success both now and in the years to come.”
Since the establishment of the new department in Hamburg German owners have transferred approximately 20 vessels totaling about one million gross tons to ClassNK.
The signing ceremony today commemorated the transfer of eight ships comprising of five container carriers including one Panamax-sized vessel, and three Capesize bulk carriers.
According to IHS Fairplay data, ClassNK is not only the leading classification society for bulk carriers with nearly three times as many bulk carriers on it register as the next IACS member society, but is also the leading class society in IACS for tankers and second for container carriers in terms of ship numbers.
Mr. Ueda said it had taken just five years for the register to grow from 150 million to 200 million gross tons compared with the ten years taken to increase from 100 million to 150 million gross tons. Part of this was due to the incredible growth of the wider maritime industry, but he believed it represented the success of the new approach to ship classification that ClassNK began implementing when he became Chairman and President in 2008.
“With the development of the Common Structural Rules, the professionalization of the maritime industry, as well as the increasing demands of new regulations on ship owners and yards, we realized it would no longer be enough to simply have the greatest technical expertise, ” Mr. Ueda said.
“Instead, we would need to pair our commitment to technical excellence, with a dedication to supporting the maritime industry and providing the very best service to our clients around the globe. We believed in a simple idea, that providing better service would lead to greater success, and we set about on trying to make that idea a reality in our everyday operations.
“In line with this new approach, we embarked on a campaign to expand our network of offices around the world, and in doing so provide better, more timely and lower cost service to owners and yards. And over the past four years, I have personally overseen the establishment of 22 new offices around the globe, by far the largest and most rapid expansion in ClassNK’s history of more than a century.”
ClassNK currently operates a network of 98 offices outside Japan and the 22 offices opened since Mr. Ueda became Chairman comprise 25% of its entire global service network. Over this period the register has grown by more than 50 million gross tons, or approximately 25% of the Society’s total register.
“I do not think this is simply a coincidence, but see it rather as proof of our idea that providing ever better service leads to ever greater success, ” Mr. Ueda said. “Even though 200 million gross tons is a great and unparalleled achievement, I believe it is only a milestone on a path towards even greater achievements in the future. Even as we have been expanding we have been considering the next steps necessary to ensure our success in the years to come.”