A staff meeting was held at the yard in Leirvik this week where the employees were informed of the changes at the yard. CEO of Havyard Group Gunnar Larsen said that this was a difficult decision because they know how important the yard is both to the individual employees and the region. “But the strategy of becoming a service and repair yard is absolutely necessary to keep as many jobs as possible”.
Larsen said that the yard industry now recognises that the market for newbuilds and the possibilities of obtaining funding for building projects will be challenging in the time ahead. At the same time, the service segment is healthy and profitable. “New Havyard Ship Technology must therefore restructure its operations to repairs, service and maintenance. The yard’s facilities, expertise and location mean that we are in a good position to be a reliable provider to customers in this market as well”.
The Norwegian yard industry is facing serious problems, and Larsen called for more measures to facilitate shipbuilding in Norway. “The measures notified by the authorities are not good enough to secure Norwegian yard jobs. More measures with more immediate effects in relation to transitioning to environmentally-friendly shipping would help both the Havyard yard, which is a market leader in green technology, and the Norwegian maritime industry as a whole,” he said.
Larsen also pointed out that the major financial and practical consequences of the coronavirus pandemic are an extra challenge for the yards, and that the industry needs the authorities’ support to get through the crisis.
Converting the yard into a repair, maintenance and modification yard means that the yard will undergo a downsizing process that will reduce the number of employees by around 100. This will take place in the coming year.
General Manager of New Havyard Ship Technology Erlend Hatleberg says that the comprehensive measures that must now be taken are necessary to ensure that the yard stays competitive. “We know that this is difficult for the people affected, but we are doing it to save as many jobs as possible. We are in close dialogue with the employee representatives and will take steps to make this difficult process as smooth as possible. We are also in contact with Hyllestad municipality and the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) to ensure that those who lose their jobs are taken care of and receive help”.
Havyard New Ship Technology has six newbuilds that are scheduled for completion in 2020 and 2021. The downsizing will take place in correlation with the completion of the newbuilds and the shift in activities at the yard as it receives new service assignments.
Hatleberg also said that they have not ruled out newbuild activities completely. “We have newbuild expertise and experience of upscaling and downscaling the yard in line with demand. Therefore, newbuilds may be an option in future, but for now, we will primarily concentrate on adding a new string to our bow: repairs, maintenance and modification”.