The Full Marine Package
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Josh Hyland
From humble beginnings to globally-significant international operator, Northern Marine Group’s 30-year evolution has culminated at the very top of its profession. But the journey is far from over, as the business continues to look to new geographies and improved services in the future.
Formed in 1983 in Glasgow, Scotland, the ship management specialist initiated with just a handful of vessels in its armoury, but has expanded in the intervening years to now boast more than 150 oil tankers, gas carriers, passenger ferries, Ro-Ro vessels, luxury cruise vessels, and offshore semi-submersibles; offering technical and crewing services across the entire assortment.
And through this ever-increasing portfolio, Northern Marine has reached some of the biggest ship owners and oil majors in the global market.
“Expanding beyond our core business of technical ship management, The Northern Marine Group of Companies today offers a fully-integrated marine services package including crewing and manpower services, technical engineering and new build project management, as well as marine and offshore supply chain management,” further explains the Company’s Managing Director, Hugh Ferguson. “With an 8,000-strong pool of marine and offshore personnel, we have extensive experience of managing a multinational workforce.
“Our shore-based workforce of 750 is strategically located in our offices in the UK, Sweden, USA, India, Russia, Singapore, China and Australia.
“It would be fair to say Northern Marine is regarded in the industry as synonymous with quality ship management.”
Reliable and efficient management
As a wholly-privately owned subsidiary of Stena AB, Northern Marine Group is the parent of a family of companies operating in the marine service domain, subsequently integrating the subsidiaries in order to provide a full suite of services; offering owners consistency, quality, operational safety, and cost efficiency.
“The substantial fleet of technically-managed vessels are today the responsibility of subsidiaries, Northern Marine Management (NMM) and Northern Marine Ferries (NMF),” Ferguson explains. “Each business specialises in its own respective vessel types with NMM managing oil/chemical/product tankers and NMF managing Ro-Ro, passenger ferries and small luxury cruise vessels.
“Northern Marine Offshore, also a subsidiary of Northern Marine Ltd, provides services to the offshore market.
“Northern Marine Manning Services provides crewing, personnel and training services to not only our technically managed fleet, but also additional clients, including oil majors.”
Tritec Marine adds an engineering and project consultancy string to the Northern Marine bow, with naval architects and engineers using cutting edge industry technologies across the division. Meanwhile, Stena Marine Far East serves as the holding Company for its entities stationed in Asia.
“The core services of these companies are ship agency, marine and offshore supplies, offshore catering management and supply chain management,” Ferguson continues. “We have operations and headquarters in Shanghai and Singapore, pivotal locations in the shipping industry.
“Overall, our mission has always been to provide reliable and efficient management, combined with operational safety. The safety of our seafarers is, in fact, the backbone of all our operations and is never compromised.”
Continuous measured global growth
Northern Marine Group’s strong position in the field of ship management is based on the trust placed in the business by its clients. Over the three decades, the Company’s abilities and reliability have manifested partner loyalty, and the Group can now look to leverage these existing relationships to achieve even more concerted growth, on a broader scale, in the future.
“Northern Marine is already a global operator with operations and offices in strategic locations across Europe, Northern America and Asia,” Ferguson says. “We invest resources in exploring new opportunities, both within our traditional sectors and exciting new markets.
“[Looking forward] we expect continuous measured global growth within our strategically selected sectors, within the marine services industry. Providing a business opportunity is consistent with our values and the values of our parent Company, Stena AB we have the capability and capacity to take a calculated risk on a new sector or market, should we wish.”
Naturally, such an opportunity will only be capitalised upon should it not compromise existing operations. Operations which, by and large, have been developed, honed and instilled professionally via the Company’s talented workforce.
“Our tailored recruitment services at Northern Marine Manning Services ensure we find the best talent within the marine and oil & gas sectors,” Ferguson emphasises. “We cope very well with the rigorous task of sourcing experienced and competent seafarers at sometimes very short notice.
“Our seafarer retention rate of 96 percent demonstrates the care and consideration we take in ensuring our seafarers are satisfied and motivated in their roles.”
These skilled individuals are pivotal to the success of the Company, whereby customer satisfaction and positive face-to-face impressions are paramount. To offset this risk, the business is the largest maritime training provider in the UK, and its ‘grow our own’ philosophy continues to aid not only the Group, but each individual’s personal development also.
Going beyond what is required
Compounding Northern Marine’s dedication to employee enrichment even further is the Company’s local ethos; ensuring a sustainable talent pool long into the future while also utilising each employee’s intrinsic understanding of their own region’s respective cultures and traditions.
“We have deep and longstanding relationships with trade associations in countries which have a significant shipping presence and we are committed to supporting their objective of training and employing their respective nations’ seafaring workforce,” Ferguson affirms.
On a more corporate level, the same adherence to internal progression takes a more technological mould, with digitalisation in particular becoming a key method of evolution for Northern Marine. The Company’s vessels are consequently benefiting from new electronic safety management systems, while the Group’s maintenance management process has also been revolutionised virtue of an internally-built software system.
On the personnel side once again, cloud-based training management has been introduced to allow for heightened levels of automation; resultantly enhancing efficiencies in the process, as well as cutting down on the business’s carbon footprint.
“At Northern Marine we are committed to a policy of conserving the environment, adopting the latest environmental standards and going beyond what is required by regulations and legislation,” Ferguson adds regarding the latter benefit. “Our energy management initiatives, including modifications to our vessels, have reduced fuel consumption and created additional efficiencies.”
With a solid platform of safety, reliability and cost efficiency, the Company can now focus on honing its provision even further in the years to come.
Ferguson concludes: “Having operated successfully in the sector for more than three decades, our range of integrated marine services cover the full lifecycle of a vessel, offering our clients all the skills, expertise and equipment they require to protect the value and maximise the efficiency of their assets.
“With the bulk purchasing power of the Stena Sphere behind us we are also in a position to obtain substantial discounts for our clients which sets us apart from other operators in our field.”