An evolving industry – Trelleborg



Richard Hepworth, President, Trelleborg Marine Systems


San Francisco was the venue for the 33rd PIANC World Congress, which took place in June 2014. One theme featured particularly heavily – quality and the need to ensure the highest standards across our industry. The issue of quality in marine fenders is one that Trelleborg (TMS) has discussed for some time. The company has suffered in the past due to competitors who would undercut it on price, but who did not operate with transparency about the quality and performance that is absolutely essential in the supply of mission-critical equipment. These more unscrupulous suppliers tended to be trading houses that supplied products ‘off the shelf’ and had a bad habit of applying PIANC ‘certification’ across the board, without evaluating and understanding the factors that affected performance – such as rubber compound composition and the mixing process. To produce the same quality as that supplied by the more premium players, and at a lower cost would not have been possible. Aside from anything else, the price of raw rubber has risen – but there has been no change in the pricing structures of low-cost suppliers. At the Congress, Trelleborg spoke to a number of people that were inclined to agree with it. These stakeholders were representative of the industry as a whole. The company also spoke to specifiers who were finding the same thing, members of PIANC who were also concerned, even some of Trelleborg’s competitors – many agreeing this is happening and that it is having repercussions for their business…

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