New Year’s Greetings from Björn Stenwall, CEO of ALMACO
As we say our farewells to 2023 and initiate a new year, our CEO and President, Björn Stenwall, takes a moment to reflect on the challenges and successes that shaped the past year and lets us in on the opportunities that lie ahead in 2024. While 2023 marked a year of cautious recovery, Björn is optimistic about an acceleration in progress during the upcoming year, expressing a positive outlook on market developments and wishing for a prosperous 2024 for the entire industry.
Text by Björn Stenwall, CEO and President at ALMACO Group
First, I want to take this opportunity thank our valued customers, partners, subcontractors, suppliers, and our exceptional employees for the year that has passed. Without the fantastic collaboration and our dedication to excellence, none of our achievements would be possible. Together we have built, modernized and served the largest and most innovative and sustainable passenger ships and offshore rigs in the world. Sounds pretty impressive when you think about it!
We have had some difficult years behind us for sure, but I think we can all agree that things are starting to look brighter in our industry, slowly but steadily. While 2023 marked a year of cautious recovery, I feel optimistic about an acceleration in market growth during the upcoming year. But first, let’s look back at what 2023 had to offer.
The year 2023 in maritime in retrospect
Reflecting on the past year, we have noted a steady but cautious growth in our industry despite geopolitical challenges, post-pandemic scars and rising costs.
Navigating uncertain markets and managing escalating costs has increased business risks. In response, forging stronger partnerships with trusted, stable and experienced collaborators has become a popular method to mitigate unnecessary risks and ensure reliability throughout the supply chain. ALMACO benefits from our global network of partners, subcontractors and suppliers that we know well and trust.
Passenger booking rates and oil prices, key indicators for our sector, have continued to trend upward as expected. The modernization and aftersales businesses experienced rapid expansion already in the beginning of 2023 and has continued to grow. In 2023, we also started to see the positive trend of increasing newbuild projects, a trend we feel confident will continue in 2024.
ALMACO’s most important accomplishments in 2023
Turning to our business, I want to emphasize our commitment to delivering high-quality areas, products, and services that enhance the comfort, experience and safety of passengers, crew, and workers at sea. This commitment guides us in our daily work, and we make sure our customers can see and experience that firsthand.
I am happy to say that this year, our customers have shown their appreciation for us even more than usual. We have received numerous expressions of gratitude from our closest customers and partners, both publicly and unofficially.
To name a major achievement, our customers have told us that we have attained the number one position in galleys, complementing our existing leading position in provision stores and refrigeration machinery. We have been delivering and serving provision stores and refrigeration machinery for a longer time than galleys, so it makes us very happy to see that the galleys are now reaching the same market leadership position as our other catering systems.
Another major accomplishment in 2023 was the recognition from Chantiers de l’Atlantique, who awarded us the Best Supplier Award for our laundry area delivery for MSC World Europa. It was ALMACO’s first major laundry delivery, and it was an immediate success thanks to the great effort and expertise of our team as well as the great collaboration with the yard, the customer and our laundry partner, Girbau.
The Accommodation team, known for delivering outstanding results, has excelled in both newbuilds and modernization projects this year. They have been involved in several of our target segments, all the way from modernizations in cruise and the superyacht segments, to newbuilds in the passenger ferry and offshore segments. A few projects only got started in the end of this year, so we have a lot to look forward to as we continue the works in 2024.
At ALMACO, 2023 was a year of big investments in lifecycle services. Our customers are requesting increasingly more planned maintenance and full turnkey service contracts in order to make sure their equipment, furniture and interiors stay in good shape throughout the lifecycle. I am happy to say that these investments have proven very successful. Our lifecycle business has continued to grow, and we see this trend continuing in the future as well.
2024 – a huge step towards innovation, digitalization, and sustainability
Business-wise, we can already see in the project backlog that 2024 marks a turning point where the business finally starts growing more rapidly. This trend seems to be common for most stable and healthy companies in our industry. I can genuinely say that we are eager to step into 2024 and get started, not just because of more wind in our sails, but also because we have a lot of exciting developments happening in the market in terms of innovation, digitalization and sustainability.
At ALMACO, development of digital solutions to enhance efficiency, performance, and safety are ongoing, alongside efforts to assist customers in meeting environmental regulations and passenger expectations. Our customers’ sustainability targets can be supported with products, materials and equipment designed for longevity, reduced energy consumption, and waste reduction. We can also help reduce emissions during construction and shipping. Our modular cabin concept and mobile cabin factories can be planned and set up to reduce environmental impact.
Regarding digital services, we have a big reveal planned for the beginning of next year. This reveal hints at a significant advancement in our lifecycle services portfolio that addresses our customers’ needs.
The second quarter of a century in the maritime industry
For ALMACO, 2023 marked an important milestone as it was our 25th anniversary. We took the opportunity to thank and celebrate with many of our customers, partners and employees in several countries all around the world. A few parties have been postponed, so we trust we will find the opportunity to celebrate this milestone during 2024 as well.
Our first quarter of a century took us from a startup to a successful full turnkey project and lifecycle service provider known in all continents by all the major players in the industry. ALMACO will spend the next quarter of a century focusing on delving deeper into innovation, preferred partnerships, digitalization and sustainability to better serve our customers and achieve shared goals.
As we embark into our second quarter of a century, I want to express gratitude to everyone who has been part of our journey. Wishing you all a sustainable, inventive, and prosperous 2024! Take care of yourselves and each other.
Happy New Year!
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