ABS Forms Greater China Operating Division

(Houston, TX) ABS, one of the world’s leading classification societies, has announced a major organizational change with the creation of a fifth operating division that will be responsible for the society’s activities in The People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong SAR and Taiwan. 

The reorganization takes effect 15 October. The Divisional Headquarters will be located in Shanghai where ABS already maintains a large engineering, survey and administrative office. Adam Moilanen has been appointed President of the new ABS Greater China Division. The existing China, Hong Kong and Taiwan senior management teams remain in place and will form the nucleus of the new divisional executive team.  

The new division, which has been carved out of the existing ABS Pacific Division, will operate in coordination with the Pacific, Europe and Americas Divisions of the society and with the Nautical Systems fleet management software division.

“The importance of China to our current and future activities cannot be over-emphasized,” said ABS Chairman and CEO Robert D. Somerville in announcing the reorganization. “ABS is now active in approximately 140 shipyards in China with an orderbook approaching 900 vessels aggregating almost 20 m gross tons. ABS also has very long standing and strong ties with the Hong Kong and Taiwanese owners as well as Taiwan shipbuilding.

“In addition, the growing importance of China, itself as a shipowning center, as a leader in ship repair as well as a prominent manufacturer of marine machinery and equipment has increased the level of ABS classification, certification, engineering and type approval activities in the country to a level which demands a more focused and active management team,” he added. 

Somerville also pointed to the physical size and logistics within China as posing constant administrative challenges that need to be managed efficiently if ABS is to continue to provide the superior level of service delivery to its clients that it is known for.

“Our activities throughout the rest of the Asia-Pacific region have also been growing rapidly,” Somerville noted. “This new divisional structure will allow us to better service our clients in Korea, Japan, Singapore, India, the Philippines, Indonesia and elsewhere across Asia and Australasia.”

Spurring the decision to establish the new operating division has been the rapid diversification of China into the gas and offshore sectors, two areas of traditional strength for ABS. “The level of offshore and energy related activity in China, both in relation to China’s own needs and also in terms of major new construction projects for a wide range of offshore exploration and production units, is growing at a very rapid pace,” noted Moilanen.

An example is that ABS, working in cooperation with the China Classification Society (CCS), was recently named to provide classification and certification services for the Liwan 3-1 gas field in the South China Sea. This project represents China’s largest-ever offshore natural gas discovery and its first deepwater discovery development. 

“We have been spending a lot of time and effort working with all sectors of the energy community in China and in the shipyards assisting them with this very ambitious and rapid level of expansion,” said Moilanen. “We see the need for this close cooperation increasing and we will be establishing a very active department within the new division to provide the support and service that will be needed.”

The newly created Greater China Division will have more than 500 employees operating from more than 30 offices across the country and in Hong Kong and Taiwan with these numbers expected to steadily increase in line with the expanded activities.

The current ABS orderbook at Chinese and Taiwanese shipyards includes liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, oil and chemical tankers, containerships, bulk carriers in all size ranges as well as self-elevating drilling units (jackups), semisubmersibles and floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units.  

Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.