Invest in Pomerania spoke to the directors of several Pomerania-based shared service centers: MacGregor, Ocean Network Express, Unifeeder, Maersk Drilling and DNV GL. Each of them provided great examples of modernization and digitization in the maritime industry in Pomerania that will shape the future of the local BSS sector.
The maritime industry is one of the most dynamically developing sectors of the Pomeranian economy. Over the years, the Tricity shipyards have specialized in production of niche products, such as cable layers, heavy lift jack-up, LNG-powered vessels, wind towers and arctic container ships.
Tricity is also home to around 60 design offices, two R&D centers and classification societies such as DNV GL, Lloyds Register and American Bureau of Shipping. Advanced design projects are often carried out in local shipyards, demonstrating the sector’s vertical integration and maturity.
Currently the BSS in Tricity employs over 26,500 people and includes Shared Serve Centres for ‘in-house’ services, Business Processing Operations primarily servicing external clients, IT centers and R&D centers that include software development. The processes supported span from IT, compliance, finance, financial crime to HR and recruitment. Increasingly, global corporations in the maritime sector are opening their support centers in Pomerania.
“We can talk about a growing trend”, said Marcin Grzegory, deputy director at Invest in Pomerania, which supported Maersk Drilling’s recent new investment in Gdańsk. “Tricity naturally offers access to a big pool of maritime faculties’ graduates, but also traditionally numerous different pools of technologies, logistics, supply chain, engineering and others potentially useful for the constantly evolving maritime business. As an investment agency we are aware of the opportunities and are able to match expectations and demand of our investors or even prepare custom-made offers for maritime companies.”
The centers in Tricity support back office operations but also highly specialized maritime-specific processes. MacGregor’s local branch, for example, offers solutions and services for handling marine cargoes, vessel operations, offshore loads, crude or LNG transfer and offshore mooring. Their expert team in Gdańsk answers customer inquiries from the company’s 45 sales offices around the world and supports them in negotiations with clients - shipowners, ports and terminals.
“For MacGregor, implementing the philosophy of shared service centers means changing the center of gravity from the product (product-driven model) to functions (function-based model). After implementing the BSS philosophy, the organization structure was based on functions and functional teams responsible for one process, one task, which is then passed to another team”, says Martin Due, Managing Director at MacGregor Denmark.
The Ocean Network Express (ONE) is yet another example. The result of a merger of three Japanese sea carriers (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha), ONE is now the world's sixth biggest container shipping company. As part of the ongoing improvement process, the ONE’s office in Gdańsk assesses the quality of the group’s internal processes, detects best practices and optimizes the logistics flow. Specifically, it coordinates the information flow between ships and sea ports, serving more than 10 ports - from Hamburg to Amsterdam. Additionally, the team in Gdańsk also supports container maintenance and repair processes.
DNV GL is a Norwegian classification company with a professional service center located in Gdynia. The company’s training system has benefited significantly since the implementation of the BSS model. The trainings cover various business areas supported by the company: oil and gas, business assurance, energy and digital solutions.
Further digitalization and automation of the maritime industry is inevitable. In Pomerania, the industry is increasingly relying on space technologies that allow detailed port monitoring amongst other security measures. The BSS sector opens opportunities for the marine industry related to automation, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology, while integrated backoffice processes enhance transparency and efficiency. Some of these solutions are already being implemented by Unifeeder in Gdynia and MacGregor in Gdańsk. While no longer a major center for large scale shipbuilding, Pomerania is home to significant technical and design expertise, as well as medium-sized boatbuilding and component supply.