Offshore wind energy will not develop without raw materials, components, ports and a wide range of maritime services. Logistics is underestimated in discussions about the future of offshore wind in Poland while it is logistics that determines project schedules. Seaway 7 is a unique entity that provides comprehensive solutions. In our next article from the series "Who is who in Polish offshore" we talk to Piotr Żeglarski, Business Development Manager for Poland and the Baltic Sea at Seaway 7.
Seaway 7 is the result of a merger of three companies. Originally, these were Seaway Heavy Lifting and Seaway Offshore Cables, which merged to form a subsidiary of Subsea 7. In October 2021, Seaway 7 merged with the OHT and became an independent company, which is now listed on the Norwegian Stock Exchange.
Seaway 7 operates primarily in the renewable energy sector. V|ssels operated by company enable it to carry out the entire spectrum of installation works for wind farm construction - foundations and windmills, laying cables, and transporting large-scale components from their production sites, which is - according to our interviewee Piotr Żeglarski - an underestimated element. - We do things not only connected with installation, but also with supply - he emphasizes.
The company operates an extensive fleet of vessels adapted for operations on the offshore wind market. Its flagship vessel will be the Seaway Alfa Lift, which is due to enter offshore service in 2022. As Żeglarski points out, it is a sort of "floating factory," built for efficient foundation installation. - We believe this modern, custom solution will give us an advantage in the marketplace - he says.
Developers are trying to minimize risks in offshore wind projects. Seaway 7 also executes EPCI (engineering, procurement, construction and installation) contracts. In this case, the investor delegates a broad package of works within the project to the EPCI contractor, thus getting rid of risks related to e.g. production schedule and quality, transport and storage. The company is currently executing such a contract for, among others, the Seagreen offshore wind farm in Scotland. The combination of extensive installation capabilities and EPCI makes Seaway 7 a versatile and highly competent partner in the rapidly growing offshore wind market.
Seaway 7 Philosophy - Integrity and
Seaway 7 has based its mission on six core values: safety, efficiency, collaboration, innovation, integrity and sustainability. In an interview with MarinePoland.com, Żeglarski emphasizes the importance of cooperation.
- Seaway 7 builds ties not only with customers, market stakeholders, but also with the supply chain. By working with offshore wind industry stakeholders we are able to create solutions tailored to market and customer requirements that ultimately win tenders. Thanks to this value we are very often able to adapt to market conditions at very early stages. No wonder that we are very successful. Another key value is honesty, i.e. unconditional fulfilment of commitments. On such capital - intensive projects, where schedule risks often come to the fore - this is fundamental. Seaway 7 is flexible and adapts to changing conditions. Another issue is sustainability, which is something our customers are already interested in. People are the foundation - explains Żeglarski.
He adds that the company is built by experts, often with decades of experience.
- In Poland it is forgotten that not
only a ship is needed to build a wind farm. The installation is done
by people. In our company work about 600 people, not counting the
offshore personnel. It is an army of engineers, who prepare solutions
in response to the customers' needs and specific project conditions.
It is not really that simple - points out Żeglarski.
Piotr Żeglarski notes that currently developers on the global offshore wind energy market are under pressure of growing costs, shortening schedules and required local content.
- We also feel this pressure. We feel an obligation to support our clients in meeting expectations and we try to do so without increasing costs. The key is to get stuck in and work at the grassroots to build value domestically. This is how not only the project but the whole industry will develop - he explains.
Polish market is no stranger to Seaway 7. "We support in achieving global standards"
Seaway 7 knows the maritime market in Poland very well. The company has ties to the Polish shipbuilding industry, that dates back to the beginning of this century. Activities have included shipbuilding, conversions and repairs in Polish shipyards. Over time, the company became involved in the development of the Polish offshore wind sector.
- Since 2017, the company has been getting to know stakeholders and players in Poland. We undertook serious supply chain research activities. We already know what is possible and feasible in Poland, what are the pains of the Polish business, and how to exist on it - pointed out Żeglarski.
In hindsight, our interlocutor assesses very good relations with Polish companies, which are open for cooperation. The company is a member of Polish Offshore Wind Energy Association (PTMEW). Żeglarski emphasizes that for Seaway 7 it is crucial to build relationships with suppliers and show them the path they need to follow to reach global offshore wind standards.
Seaway 7 also engages in non-business activities. It is the only TIER 1 contractor to sign the Polish Offshore Wind Sector Deal. - We take the declarations included in the agreement very seriously - explains Żeglarski.
The company also cooperates with Polish universities. Employees explain cable laying to students during postgraduate studies in offshore wind at the Gdansk University of Technology. At Gdynia Maritime University, Seaway 7 will present a comprehensive analysis of a real project during postgraduate studies on risk management in offshore projects. The Executive MBA in Offshore Wind Energy program at the same university, of which Seaway 7 is a partner, was launched in March.
Source: Seaway 7
Tenders - Seaway 7 wants to convince investors with comprehensive services
What distinguishes Seaway 7 from its competitors? Seaway points out that it is the flexibility of its fleet and services, which translates into minimizing risks associated with delayed deliveries or interruptions in work. In addition to installation services, a core competency, the company provides logistics services, transporting foundations from anywhere in the world. Capital, or financial strength, is also an asset - Seaway 7 can handle the most demanding projects.
Currently, Seaway 7 is focused on tender processes in Poland for cables, wind turbines and foundations. In 2022, investors in the Polish market have launched or are in the process of launching tenders for given services for projects in the Baltic Sea. Żeglarski points out that many years of work on the Polish market related to market analysis and integration now pays off.
- There are a lot of questions about local content. Thanks to the fact that we have done our homework in the previous years, we are able to show what is possible to do using percentages and amounts. Projects in Poland differ from each other in the manner of implementation, scope of work and specific conditions. Thanks to the accumulated knowledge we can present further solutions ready on a platter - says Żeglarski.
In case of winning tenders, Seaway 7 will develop its office in Gdynia and start preparing suppliers for operations and schedules. The key is not just the education of the staff, but their experience. What will be the desired skills for Seaway 7 in the coming years? They will certainly be related to project management, quality and logistics. Engineers with technical knowledge of marine technology will also be of importance.
What is Seaway 7 planning in 2022? Apart from tenders, it will be strengthening relationships with Polish suppliers, not only in the Polish market but also internationally.
Let's appreciate logistics in offshore wind projects
Żeglarski emphasized in the interview that the emerging offshore wind energy sector in Poland should not forget about the role of logistic processes in project implementation. It is not only crucial to produce components, but also to deliver them on time and to work in an environment of international market turbulence, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or the current war in Ukraine.
- For now, it is difficult to assess the impact of the conflict on logistics processes and offshore wind projects. It depends on many factors and the scope of orders. For now, the situation is under control. It is crucial that ships are operated continuously in the offshore wind sector. Russia is a global exporter of raw materials, steel, aluminum. Excluding such a player will probably affect raw material prices. Purchases will only be made in 2-3 years, who knows what else will happen. Logistical challenges may affect project schedules - comments Żeglarski.
Another issue is vessels, their availability and their ability to install and/or transport increasingly heavy and longer wind components. Our interviewee indicates that the area around 2025 will be the peak of project delivery.
- Not every vessel fits every project. Is this a problem for Seaway 7? Definitely no. Investors are in a more difficult situation, as the availability of installation vessels may be limited. It is worth noting that Polish projects compete with projects abroad in Europe, the US, Asia or other markets. If tenders are settled at the same time, there will be fewer contractors - he explains.
Ports should be a strategic investment
Offshore ports are key and there is no doubt about it. Their construction should be realized as a strategic investment, not only a business one. Żeglarski emphasizes that ports guarantee that in the era of offshore wind energy development capital will stay in Poland through services and permanent jobs.
- We believe that Seaway 7 will offer solutions for 2024. We are already working on them today - emphasized Żeglarski.