Thordon Bearings has signed sales and distribution agreements with St. Petersburg-based Industrial & Marine Projects (IMPRO) and Tallinn’s Marine Ecology Equipment (MEE), in a development that anticipates the introduction of more stringent pollution rules for European waterways.
The appointment of new distributors for Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia and Azerbaijan coincides with concerns that more should be done to reduce the impact of oil pollution in the ecologically sensitive Baltic Sea and Caspian Sea areas.
“While MARPOL Annex I and Annex IV of the Helsinki Convention prohibit the discharge of oil or oily mixtures into the Baltic Sea, the vast majority of vessels continue to operate oil-lubricated propeller shaft bearings which, as we know, continually leak oil into the sea,” said Thordon’s Regional Manager in Europe, George Morrison.
“Given that the prohibition applies not only to discharges from cargo tanks but also to discharges from machinery spaces, we anticipate the introduction of European regulations similar in scope to the EPA’s Vessel General Permit rule in the US. We expect the Baltic States, in particular, to be the first to clampdown on this source of oil pollution.”
Morrison added that the expansion of Thordon’s European sales and distribution network with the appointment of IMPRO and MEE aims to help “facilitate shipowners’ move towards a safer, more cost-effective bearing solution”, while ensuring they remain environmentally compliant.
Oleg Mrachkovskiy, Managing Director, Marine Ecology Equipment, said: “We are delighted that we can add Thordon’s range of products to our portfolio. As the market leader in water-lubricated and grease-free bearings, Thordon is well placed to help shipowners maintain the integrity of the ship-to-sea interface with a water-based shaft bearing solution.”
Vladimir Potapov, Special Projects Director, IMPRO, said: “There is a real trend towards more environmentally-acceptable solutions capable of providing shipowners with a return on investment. With ecological-related problems now affecting many of the world’s seas, particularly the Baltic Sea, Caspian Sea, and the Northern Sea Route, a water lubricated propeller solution is just one way that shipowners can help reduce shipping’s impact.”
Potapov added: “As Thordon’s new sales and distribution representative in Russia and Azerbaijan, we strive to maintain the company’s existing client base and create new business opportunities. The agreement supports our current business portfolio and will help boost both companies’ operations in these regions.”
With a 36-strong sales support and engineering division working in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Vladivostok and Baku, IMPRO will represent Thordon Bearings across Russia and Azerbaijan.
Marine Ecology Equipment, which specialises in the supply of ecologically safe equipment and solutions, will serve Thordon’s marine and industrial divisions in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
Thordon has been quick to optimise its local presence in Europe with an expanded network of sales and engineering professionals to help facilitate new and existing requirements. Last month, the Canada-headquartered company strengthened its presence in southern Europe and North Africa with the appointment of Spain’s Echetalde, which now represents Thordon in Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco.