“Finnish sea ports are frozen in winter,” says Managing Director Reko-Antti Suojanen. “As 80% of all import and export goods are transported by ship, icebreakers have always been of huge importance to the people of Finland.”
In 1910, Finnish shipyards started building the first icebreakers. In 1954, they developed the first lectric propulsion which was a real breakthrough. 15 years later, the first laboratory started testing icebreakers. The first ship which had been tested was an Exxon oil tanker on its way from Alaska to the East Coast.
Ever since, due to the hard working laboratory, technologies have been significantly improved. In 1983, a new laboratory was established and worked particularly for Russian and Finnish customers. “The laboratory had been integrated right into the shipyard,” explains Mr. Suojanen. “In the end, that was the basis for Aker Arctic which emerged from a spin-off in 2005.”
Today, Aker Arctic has a workforce of 46 employees and a turnover of 6,6 million EUR. With its head office in Helsinki and a site office in Turku, the company concentrates on full services including development, design and testing services. Besides, it sells complete ice-going ship projects.
“As a testing laboratory, we offer consulting and turnkey ship design according to customer needs,” states Mr. Suojanen. “We are a highly specialized company focusing on crown technology. We clearly benefit from our huge experience in all aspects of shipbuilding, mechanical engineering and structural design.”
Aker Arctic banks on a broad customer base including oil and gas, mining and transport companies. Among the customers are ship owners, ship builders and operators of ships.
“You’ll find 60% of the world’s icebreakers, many Arctic and Antarctic vessels and different types of cargo vessels on our reference list,” adds Mr. Suojanen. “Russia is an extremely important market for us. The Baltic Sea has an enormous transport volume and during winter it is frozen. At the same time we have many customers in Europe and the United States.
Furthermore, we are very innovative and focus a lot on design aspects. We can even see the transport volume in this region increase. Thus, icebreakers and our services will be in great demand. Our advantage is that we are based in a region where we are used to long and cold winters.
This means we have a lot of experience and know exactly the market needs exactly, which gives us a lot of optimism.”