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“You can expect the very best from GL”
Interview/Frederick Ebers, GL’s new North East Asia Area Manager
Friday, November 04, 2011, 13:25:30 Maritime Press

Frederick Ebers, new GL’s new Area Manager for North East Asia about the Korean Shipbuilding market and the support GL is to offer to assist its further growth Alternative Product Certification by GL is increasingly meeting with industry approval

Mr. Ebers has graduated the United States Merchant Marine Academy, ”Kings Point” and has earned an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has sailed various type of vessels and worked both afloat and ashore during supervision of new construction and repairs. After joining ABS, he has managed survey, inspection, audit and plan approval in the Northern Mediterranean area and throughout North and Central America, having various ABS positions including Regional Vice President for North America, Corporate Director of Strategic products, and Director of Americas project Development. His working experiences past in Asian Countries like Korea, Japan and China for more than 10 years will surely lead to a good cooperation with our clients.

-How do you like your new job as a Area Manager for North East Asia?
=I am both honored and energized. The ideal job for me is to partner with ship owners, offshore operators, builders, and related suppliers in order to find and provide solutions of value to their business

-What is your projection of the Korean Shipbuilding and Shipping market in coming years?
=I believe Korean builders have the right mix of high-tech, high quality, on-time production at a reasonable price in order to keep their orderbook full. Korean yards may also choose to be less selective about the type of projects they take on, be they even more sophisticated, or conversely less complex than those they prefer today. And with any vessel type, Korean builders are also positioned to offer greener, more fuel efficient ships, and in this area GL is their clear partner.

There are new markets for FLNG and other high-tech offshore expansion, and demand for wind farms and associated service vessels and turbines is huge. We also face commercial ship replacements with more fuel-efficient hull lines and propulsion modifications for both business and regulatory reasons, including gas as fuel. All of these areas are strong for GL Class, GL Noble Denton, and GL Garrad Hassan. In shipping, Korean owners and managers are strong in all sectors, and some markets are up when others are down. Korean shipping is also growing in North-South Asia trade, and in trade with Latin America.

-How may GL supports the Korean maritime industry?
=The GL Group is uniquely positioned to improve the profit of ship owners, operators, and builders by enabling designs that not only optimize the use of steel but also optimize fuel efficiency. The shipbuilder that offers the more fuel efficient, green “Futureship” is offering a more valuable ship, both in terms of immediate and significant fuel savings, and logically in resale value. Such GL Group optimized designs undergo some 10,000 iterations to achieve minimum fuel consumption. GL is also able to propose modifications to existing hulls with a predictable payback in fuel savings and also can provide fuel savings by using software solutions like ECO-Assistant or GL SeaScout And there are a number of GLGroup software solutions for more efficient ship management, not only for the usual maintenance, purchasing, and inventory, but also for finance, crew, fuel, and weather management, along with a management dashboard to monitor the entire fleet.

-Are there any new initiatives that GL is to launch in the Korean market?
=For the traditional ship owner and builder, the question remains how to improve profit and at the same time face high fuel costs and increasingly tough environmental regulations. Our newest products are timed perfectly for this more challenging market. GL is focussing on Safer, Greener, and Smarter what we do.

-How did you feel the 17th GL Korea Shipbuilding Committee?
=We just completed the GL Shipbuilders and Ship Owners Committee meeting, which was well attended. All of the major Korean builders and owners were present. Samsung Senior Executive Vice President Bae Yeong-Soo, Committee Chairman, presided. GL CEO Erik van der Noordaa was there, as well as the German Ambassador to Korea, Dr. Hans Ulrich Seidt. While the group expressed much uncertainty in both the shipbuilding and commercial shipping markets, there is also much promise for Korea.

Fuel efficiency was the over-arching topic at the meeting for both Shipbuilders and Ship Owners, and GL is the class leader in this area with a full range of lifecycle solutions. Examples are GL Futureship lines optimization during initial design, the best in the world. And GL Friendship lines modification for new and vessels in service. This Committee serves to guide and inspire GL in all areas.

-What did GL perform and achieve in Kormarine-2011?
=Kormarine just ended, and GL enjoyed a large turnout at its stand. The highlight for GL was presentation of design approval in principle to DSME for the world’s first LNG fuelled large containership. Approval of manufacturers that supply Korean shipbuilders, and GL Academy training programs were also of interest. The theme this year centered on “green” shipping, and here too GL is the leader, not only for environmental reasons, but also for more profitable operation through fuel economy.

-Could you introduce the ABC Program of GL Group-wide?
=The GL Maritime Services organization is in the process of implementing the first phase of a large classification improvement initiative, called ABC for “A Better Class.” Most changes are internal and process related. All of this will improve service to GL customers. Managers, surveyors, plan approval engineers, and staff are involved, worldwide.

Conference calls are held regularly. There are many diverse initiatives coming out of this. Areas include process improvement, information technology systems, training, organization, identification of new products, sales and marketing changes, further localization, and simple cultural adjustment for GL staff. Without the customer, we would not be here. GL will expand its reach as preferred service provider.

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