In April 2020, when foreign trade decreased, our province of Yalova increased its exports, which were 3 million 550 thousand dollars, to 41 million 745 thousand dollars in May. In this success, there was a signature of the shipyard company operating in the shipbuilding industry. We talked about growth despite the crisis with Nurettin Paksu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of shipyard, which is the leader of the sector with its horizontal production line on land.
We successfully exported our factory fishing vessel, titled Calvert, built Nb1091, in May, at a time when COVID-19 travel bans were very strict. Calvert was the first ship to be exported of this nature and quantity during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The covid-19 outbreak came at a moment when no country, no industrial organization, expected it. We do not foresee radical changes in the shipbuilding industry. Because when we produce tailor-made special ships, we make this production based on 85 percent manpower. After the epidemic; reduced production with manpower, expectations for automation do not apply to our sector on the same scale. Especially shipyards like us, which build special ships based on project, depending on customer demands, are conducive to robotization to a certain extent like a standard product-oriented factory. Our shipyard is already applying automation and robot investments to the infrastructure to the extent permitted by the production methods of the sector.
We developed permanent changes in the social life of our shipyard with COVID-19. Together with the importance attached to distance, common space sharing and hygiene and the increasing need for online communication systems; our shipyard has been integrated into this process very quickly to use new communication methods.
In Tersan, we continue our investments without slowing down. In 2019, we introduced our own 283 meter long floating pool and increased our repair and maintenance activities by 150 percent. Despite coinciding with the epidemic period, we have launched our new closed warehouse and workshop with a budget of 20 million TL. Our new 400 ton lifting capacity crane, built on a new horizontal production line that was commissioned last year, was also operational this year. The quality of the ships produced by the Turkish shipbuilding industry has proven its capability to all of Europe, especially Northern Europe, with its technological solution supply, so we are always in favor of developing with new investments in order to meet the requirements at this point.
It is essential to improve competitiveness, reduce costs, shorten delivery times, to enhance quality of the ships we produce as compatible with international standards, to build flexible manufacturing systems and to meet customer demands, integrate into markets and to be a worldwide brand following the technological developments to keep pace with these developments, even being pioneer in this sector. Our shipyard has completed many projects that are the first in the world and in Turkey, there are very special projects such as cruise ships produced for the first time in Turkey with the largest battery capacity on a ship in the world, 100 percent battery ferries produced for the first time in Turkey, the largest factory fishing ship produced in Turkey. If we didn’t have technological capability, leadership, or compliance, we wouldn't be able to accomplish these achievements. At the heart of all these capabilities that we have developed is the aim of attracting more investors to our country and showing the talent and diligence of the Turkish people to the whole world.
We will continue new investments. It is important to be able to respond to projects that have budgets and characteristics within the scope of our goal. This is not the first crisis we have faced. Despite the closure of many shipyards in the 2008 economic crisis and the 2014/2015 oil crisis, which came when its effects were not finished, the shipyard continued its work by making important strategic decisions and became one of the Turkish shipyards that grew out of these crises. During COVID-19, we continued to operate by taking all internal measures.
In 2018, we became the first shipyard to receive the authorized economic operator certificate. In this way, while reducing long customs processing times, we also significantly reduced storage, demurrage and shipping costs. For the same shipper, buyer, GTIP, origin and the same goods to the companies covered by AEO; the implementation of the Global TSE and Tareks application, which will be valid for one year in TSE and Tareks applications, will be useful both in terms of time and costs.
We are increasing our investments and employment, and therefore our speed in parallel with the intensity of our new projects. Thanks to our large crane, which we have just built on a horizontal production line, we can now build large-scale projects in a flat area without the need for a skid and lower them to the sea. Our investments will increase in line with new business development and agreements we will make with new customers and countries, depending on the stability, with strong references and successful deliveries to the shipyard ever attracts the attention of European buyers. Accordingly, the increase in demand will be the biggest factor in increasing our speed and investment.
“We have been the export champion of the ship and yacht building sector for the 7th time”
Our shipyard, which entered the sector with repair and maintenance activities in 1998 and started new construction activities in 2001, moved to Yalova facilities, which was a new investment in 2008. Our Yalova facility, which was 180 thousand square meters in 2008, has reached 300 thousand square meters today. At the beginning of 2019, our number of employees, which was 3 thousand, exceeded 4 thousand 500. The shipyard is one of the largest shipyards in Turkey with an annual steel cutting capacity of 50 thousand tons, a berth of 1460 meters, a lifting capacity of 550 tons, the largest crane in Turkey, as well as the largest crane in the axle range. In 2019, we became the ship and yacht building industry export champion for the seventh time in a row with 201 million dollars export. Currently, there are 19 active projects in our order book at different stages where engineering work is ongoing, steel cutting has started, equipment work is ongoing near the sea or at the docks.