Neptune Lines has signed a comprehensive three year Maintenance Management Agreement (MMA) with ABB Turbocharging that the Mediterranean and Black Sea shortsea car carrier operator expects will save both money and time.
The agreement covers eight car carriers within the Neptune Lines fleet, six of which feature TPL77-type main turbochargers, while all eight feature variants of TPS 52-series auxiliary types.
The MMA represents an extension of the relationship between shipowner and supplier stretching back 12 years, and George A Kriezis, Neptune Lines Technical Manager, says he sees it as making a strong contribution to service reliability.
“In 2011, we signed an auxiliary maintenance agreement with ABB Turbocharging on the same ships and this has facilitated the maintenance of auxiliary engine turbochargers with the minimum interruption on our services,” says Kriezis. “Signing the MMA is primarily related to the fact that we are a liner company with fixed and very tight schedules for our ships.”
The eight ships concerned, Neptune Aegli, Neptune Dynamis, Neptune Iliad, Neptune Ithaki, Neptune Kefalonia, Neptune Odyssey, Neptune Okeanis, and Neptune Thelisis, “work like trains”, says Kriezis, and are part of a fleet transporting over 800,000 new vehicles each year. “We cannot tolerate any service interruptions,” he says.
Under the MMA, the customer receives an annual budget plan, advance service recommendations, discounts on new original spare parts, and works through a single point of contact at ABB Turbocharging. Tapping into 100 fully-owned ABB Service Stations in over 50 countries offering support 24/7, 365 days a year, the MMA also secures detailed service recommendations around six months before service is due.
Evidence that shipowners have been convinced of the benefits of working this way with ABB Turbocharging is given by the fact that MMAs have already been reached with 300 customers covering 15,000 turbochargers.
Kriezis says equivalent agreements are not widely available among marine equipment suppliers, despite the willingness of Neptune Lines as an owner to consider the arrangement. “We had an offer for a similar agreement from a ramp supplier but this was not cost effective,” he confides. “With this agreement we expect to save money and time.”
Turbochargers have become more complex and are required to work at higher pressures, Kriezis says. Main engine turbocharger overhauls usually take place at the time of a vessel survey (every five years), when more time is available. To ensure minimal maintenance interruption, a service based on an exchange concept was established. The supply of this ‘swing’ unit and ABB’s competitive pricing were described as “good parts of this contract that fit well with our operations”.
Through a joint planning of the maintenance well in advance ABB can offer favorable conditions on original parts, which reduces the operational costs for the customer. “This is a very important factor as we can plan and reduce our budgets accordingly,” says Kriezis.
The Neptune Lines Technical Manager is also not shy in offering ABB Turbocharging guidance on how best to keep his business. “Keep the time between overhauls for your turbochargers long and your spare parts costs and service reasonable,” he says. “Do not compromise on quality. Provide us also with new energy saving solutions to be used with your turbochargers.” However, with specific reference to the new MMA, he advises: “If everything works out as planned, we expect to add more vessels.”