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Source:Free Trade B2B marketplace Date:(2015-02-08)Category:Industries

Altogether, around 60,000 container vessels, cargo ships, drilling ships and oil tankers travel on the seven seas. Due to the prevailing public discussion about environmental protection and the latest ecological disasters, the treatment of ballast water has become a central topic in the international shipping industry. To discharge ballast water into the sea means to cause long-term ecological damage. In Germany, the damages are estimated at around 80 to 100 million EUR, in the USA they have reached dimensions of around four billion USD. Already in 2004, a law was passed to solve this problem. It will come into force, once 30 states have signed the convention. Currently, only 27 have signed up. The RWO GmbH from Bremen in Germany, a subsidiary of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, is an internationally acknowledged specialist for on-board water treatment. The new ballast water regulation would bring the company unimagined growth potential.

„Of course, we hope that the convention will come into force as soon as possible,“ explains Head of Sales and Marketing Peter Wolf. “This would boost the potential sales volume of our industry at 30 to 40 billion USD until 2020. Around 50,000 vessels would have to be refitted and most new ones would need this equipment, too.”

Currently, the treatment of drinking water, for example, the desalination of sea water, the de-oiling of bilge water, waste water treatment and the treatment of water for process technology are the major activities of RWO. In the bilge water sector, the company is the undisputed worldmarket leader.Accounting for around 60% of the company’s revenues, the merchant fleets are the most important target group of RWO. For them, RWO develops innovative and environmentally friendly standard solutions for container vessels, tanker ships or freight vessels.

Almost 20% of all activities are carried out for white fleets, including cruise ships and yachts. Here, RWO specialises in the development of individual solutions, tailor-made to the needs of its customers. “A standard solution for a merchant fleet might cost around 15,000 EUR,” says Head of Communications, Saskia Skovdal. “For a cruise ship, such a plant can cost up to several million EUR. While on a freight vessels there are usually not more than ten people, the cruise ships often carry 6,000 passengers. As a result, there is more water to be treated. As the ships do not have much space, we supply particularly compact plants.”

Approximately 10% of the annual turnover is realised with offshore projects, another 10% fall to the so-called grey fleets, the navy vessels. Worldwide, shipyards and shipowning companies rely on the competence of RWO. The company is active in over 80 countries and generates around 50% of its revenues in Asia, particularly in China, Korea and Japan. Europe accounts for 40% of the overall business volume. 5% each fall to Africa and the Middle East and to North and South America. Altogether, the company achieves around 80% of its revenues through export activities.

In order to expand its international contact network, RWO regularly exhibits at international trade fairs, such as the SMM in Hamburg, the EUROPORT in Rotterdam and at fairs in Greece, Norway, Russia, Brazil, Korea, China, Turkey and India.

The RWO GmbH was founded in 1975 focusing on water treatment for German industrial companies, especially for automotive companies and filling stations. At the end of the 1970s, the business focus shifted towards on-board water treatment. “We were able to make use of our experiences we accumulated in the industrial sector,” says Ms. Skovdal. “There are many parallels.” RWO used to be a privately owned enterprise until it was acquired by the Berkefeld group from Celle in Germany, another specialist in water treatment.

In 2004, the group was taken over by the Paris-based VEOLIA group, the world biggest water treatment firm. VEOLIA is noted at the Paris and New York Stock Exchange and active in the fields water, energy, environment and transport. With around 313,000 employees, the group generates revenues around 34.6 billion EUR. RWO together with Berkefeld was an excellent purchase as the concern did not have a location in Germany, yet.

Today, RWO works independently but has access to the international network of the group. RWO is represented by sister companies in the Netherlands, in the United Arab Emirates, in Saudi Arabia and in Malaysia. In addition to this, the company is represented by over 45 trade agencies across the globe. With 60 employees, RWO achieves an annual turnover of more than 20 million EUR.

“Of course, we highly depend on the development of the world economy,” says Mr. Wolf. “The last years have shown what happens when a ship has to be financed but the banks do not grant a loan. Many orders were cancelled, and there were only a few new ones placed. Now, we notice growth rates again. In the coming years, we aim to expand our international sales network and to enhance our marketing. It is our goal to become the market leader in our industry. In bilge water treatment, we already are the top player. Yet, we will stay true to our philosophy to convince through innovations and to be a reliable and quickly acting partner with a global presence.”

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