In an interview with PCE-International, David J Keehan, President of Advanced Polymer Coatings (APC), presents some of the challenges his company has faced during the Covid-19 crisis, and how APC has risen to continue to meet customer and employee expectations.

“The chemical and product tanker markets have continued to see growth during this unusual period with the worldwide Covid-19 crisis,” says Keehan. “In fact, APC has been working continually to supply our coatings and work with shipyards to apply and heat cure MarineLINE to deliver an excellent tank coating solution to handle a wide range of aggressive cargoes for our shipping customers.

“In order to meet the continuing demand for MarineLINE, APC has had to overcome numerous challenges. First, is working closely with our suppliers to continually obtain the necessary raw materials and products for our supply chain needs. Second, is ensuring the safety of our employees in our Avon, Ohio, USA manufacturing center. Third, is securing the necessary logistics to safely transport and deliver our coatings worldwide. And fourth, is maintaining a high degree of safety for our application inspectors and heat curing teams in the various shipyards we work in daily on a worldwide basis.”

PPE and safety

“APC has been able to fully operate during this period by instituting a number of expert-recommended parameters for social distancing, sanitizing, rotating personnel scheduling, and some remote work. The manufacturing operation and office staff follow strict protocols to ensure the health and safety of our employees with PPE, mandated daily temperature checks, and others.

In control

“At the various shipyards where APC works, we are one of the few outside providers allowed to work there, due to our professional approach to PPE protection, and our fully trained experts in application inspection, and our proprietary turn-key heat curing. There is no other cargo tank coatings manufacturer with this level of expertise and service capability, so we are welcome in shipyards. Many of our employees have dedicated years of service to APC, and have accumulated a broad base of experience. That is useful during this crisis period.”

Orderbook growth

“The past year has seen a further ramp-up in interest from shipowners and operators for the MarineLINE system. Several customers, including a multi-ship newbuild order of 50,000 DWT tankers from Navig8, one the world’s tanker leaders, has continued to propel APC’s growth. Navig8 has also requested tank refurbishment and re-coating work for a number of its vessels starting in 2020 which further extends APC’s orderbook.

“Very recently, another major tank coating order has been secured by APC for Shandong Shipping in China with Shell as the charterer. This project, called ‘Shell’s Project Solar’ is for eight 50,000 DWT tankers in which the cargo tanks will be coated with MarineLINE. This follows on the heels of a 45,000 DWT product tanker with 20 cargo tanks that Bahri switched last year from a zinc silicate tank lining to the high performance MarineLINE system, enabling the carrier to now carry a wider range of chemical and more aggressive cargoes.

“All these orders have helped APC maintain a responsible fiscal performance. Logistics and delivery of all these projects are monitored closely daily.”

Regular communication

“APC has also moved forward with digitalisation efforts, reaching out to shipowners, operators, shipyards, employees and suppliers through online meetings and discussion, as well as strong communication efforts using newsletters, articles, website and social media posts, and advertising in the trade press. We know that the Covid-19 crisis will pass and that much of the global economy will return to somewhat normal condition. We are glad that our MarineLINE system will help in that effort.”