Fendercare reaches 25 not out

Aug 31 2013

Fender Care Ltd was established in 1988 in a small rural location in the heart of East Anglia, UK. Originally its core business was the sale, hire and refurbishment of Yokohama fenders.

Three years later, the company opened the first of many global bases to help supply Middle East countries during the first Gulf War. In 1993, as the company expanded, it relocated to their new head office near Norwich, Norfolk where the company resides today.

From this base, Fendercare Marine - as the company is known- now controls offices and stock hubs in Brazil, Australia, China, Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, India, Middle East and Singapore, as well as a global network of agents and distributors who have exclusive arrangements to sell its products. At the same time, the number of staff has grown from a handful to over 400 employees located worldwide.

Having built a reputation as a supplier of quality marine products – in particular Yokohama fenders – 1995 saw Fendercare enter the ship-to-ship (STS) market. Initially acting as a preferred contractor to Shell, its STS operations involved transfers between vessels of any size with a variety of cargoes, including crude oil, white and black products, LPG and LNG, as well as drybulk cargoes.

Last year, Fendercare transferred over 475 mill barrels of oil during almost 3,000 individual operations across the world from over 40 STS bases, compared with just 18 mill barrels in 1995 when operations started, making the company a world leader in STS operations.

Fendercare also claimed not to have had a single environmental incident since STS operations began in 1995.

A considerable customer list has been built up over the last 25 years, from small independent traders to multi-national oil and gas conglomerates, as well as becoming suppliers to many of the world’s navies.

Over the last few years, the company has expanded its marine product and service range through acquisitions of respected, quality brands, such as EJ Bean, Turners Marine Trading, Hippo Marine and surface preparation company - Blastgreen.

The load and stress monitoring concern, Strainstall Marine became a subsidiary of Fendercare last year, further extending the company’s reach into the offshore oil and gas markets.

A key milestone in the company’s history came in 2005 when it became a part of James Fisher and Sons Group. This venture has allowed the company to access a much wider range of services, resulting in significant turnover growth from £15 mill to £150 mill in just seven years.

The additional resources and services that James Fisher brought helped Fendercare Marine take on its most ambitious project yet, as in 2012, the company became responsible for the marine terminal connected to two oil fields in Angola, Africa as part of a £200 mill deal to provide turnkey marine terminal management services.

Fendercare’s group business development director, Martin Dronfield, said “(this contract) represents a very real vote of confidence by the major international oil companies and licensing authorities that our unique approach offers an ideal balance of environmental awareness, safety, efficiency and sustainability.”

The company has also become involved in the renewables sector and has opened a support base in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK.

Great Yarmouth is also home to Fendercare Marine Diving Services, established in 2010 to provide a wide range of diving services and equipment. Dronfield said; “As well as completing a number of diving and marine service contracts in the UK, we are now supporting our customers internationally, including the provision of a 30-man team to support FPSO operations in West Africa.”

Receiving full IMCA membership, ADC membership and Bureau Veritas approval are all further evidence of the Diving Services division’s commitment to safety and quality, the company claimed.

In January of this year, the company expanded its range of services to incorporate mechanical, electrical and lifting equipment; hydraulic equipment and winches; lifting slings and load/stress monitoring equipment, primarily for the offshore and renewable sectors.

One of the keys to Fendercare’s success has been a strong leadership team, the company said. For example, the current managing director, Eric Plane, joined Fendercare Marine in 1995 and has been the managing director since 1997.

“Fendercare Marine is the company it now is because of the can do attitude it uses everyday” said Plane. “This applies to opening an STS base in maybe hostile territory where others would think twice, or simply going the extra mile for a client in a variety of ways. We pride ourselves on our customer service whether that is in Australia, Brazil, Africa, or the UK.”

As for the future, the company said that the Angola turnkey project continues apace; oil and gas opportunities in East Africa and the Falkland Islands are being explored; contracts to fulfill with (among others) the US Navy and plans for further renewable energy support bases around the UK in 2013.

Plane explained; “We are constantly trying to widen our appeal to our customers and the fact that a customer who simply used us for an STS operation in 2007 can now ask us to manage an offshore terminal, or to change out an SBM, bears testament to that.”

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