Responding to market developments has always been one of C-Job’s guiding principles. In fact, this was the motivating factor behind the company’s recent decision to expand into the Asian market. C-Job’s Commercial Director Asia, Shi Wei, describes it best: “One of the macro-trends of the maritime industry is that shipbuilding activities have been dominated by Europe. However, in the last few decades, shipbuilding has been shifting more and more to East Asia – countries like Japan, South Korea, China and Singapore are building lots of vessels. Yes, Asia is the center of worldwide shipbuilding.”
Looking closer at the status quo of C-Job’s global network, it seems that the time was just right to focus more attention towards Asian markets and customers. Its ‘home’ business in the Netherlands is firmly established. The European branch offices, opening a few years ago in Ukraine, and earlier this year in Greece and Poland, are doing a great job. The Houston office, opened last year, is making its mark in the North American markets too. “Now is the time for us to start thinking about the Asian market,” smiles Shi Wei.
As Commercial Director Asia, Shi Wei’s role focuses on getting conversations going with potential new clients. “First of all, we will be approaching the ship-owners; they are the end-users of the equipment. We can share our experience and design philosophy, but a design needs to reflect the needs of the ship-owner. And, of course, we will be talking to the shipyards because, ultimately, they will be using our engineering packages.”
The C-Job portfolio of completed projects – in addition to the associated wealth of expertise and knowledge it has built up – is something that Shi Wei can highlight during meetings with new clients. “Look at offshore wind, there are some huge players in Taiwan, mainland China, Japan, and South Korea. They all have plans to develop gigawatt offshore wind farms. We can get involved by sharing knowledge and ideas to help the local Asian industries grow.”
The same applies to dredging, an industry with the strongest of roots planted firmly in Dutch soils. The company has created a number of significant dredging vessel designs over the years. In forward-looking terms, the company focuses on reducing carbon footprint, using cleaner fuels, optimizing hydrodynamics, and creating a realistic balance between CAPEX and OPEX.
Turning his attention towards a more luxurious market than dredging, Shi Wei is looking forward to spreading the C-Job message to the cruise construction market. “This is really a hot topic in China,” he says. “There is an ambition to build up the whole supply chain from design and construction, to equipment, interiors and operations. We can definitely contribute with concept designs, spatial calculations, technical support, feasibility studies, up to and including site management.” His train of thought progresses naturally towards superyacht design – a subject in which C-Job has far more experience than it is contractually allowed to publicly report on. “This is a long-term idea, but this is a market with great potential. Maybe, together with our clients, we can come up with some creative designs.”
A prosperous future
It is a 100% safe bet to say that C-Job will not be the only naval architecture and engineering company operating in Asia. On this topic, Shi Wei is refreshingly practical. “Of course, there are a lot of ship design companies in Asia. There are a lot of skilled people. But I do not see this as competition. I see this as potential partnerships. For example, we could deliver a concept design and basic design with our philosophy and our ideas, and then collaborate with a local company to complete the detailed design.”
While the ongoing coronavirus restrictions are admittedly going to affect the possibility of face-to-face meetings, Shi Wei is still optimistic about C-Job’s ability to make contact and grow with Asian clients. “For us here at C-Job, the Asian market is full of potential. We are a company that is also full of potential. My job is to bring these together and make them prosper.”