For the last couple of decades, the Russian dredging market has been growing at a fast pace.
Although the global financial crisis has slowed the market’s development, demand for maritime infrastructure and energy-related projects continued to fuel the boom. One of the best examples of this development is Nonius Engineering Company.
Being relatively young on the Russian market, the company managed to overcome the crisis and quickly develop its name and reputation in the industry of automation and monitoring.
Last week, we talked about all this — and much more with Nonius Engineering CEO, Mr Alexander Troitsky.
DT: Being relatively new to the market, I’m sure our readers would like to find out a bit more about your company?
Mr Troitsky: We’ve been active since 2008 and from the very beginning have been focusing on automation and monitoring means for all the works executed on the water and underwater. The basic profile is the control systems for dredging: everything concerning visualization, 3D-modelling, positioning, feed-back means, remote monitoring etc.
However, we keep on developing products and services for the neighboring spheres. We work out sensors for the measuring of slurry density and velocity, positioning sensors, cloud-services for managing dredging projects, AtoN lanterns with monitoring and many more.
For us the main interest is to create new products of high quality fully developed by ourselves. We do try to keep to the enthusiasm and ambitions we started with some years ago and to stay the “young” company in all good senses (actually, our staff average age is still below 30).
DT: Which markets are currently in the focus of Nonius, and do you have plans to expand your business areas?
Mr Troitsky: So far we’ve been focusing mostly on the Russian inner market working with dredging contractors (public and private ones), ship-building and mining companies. We are happy to admit that for now we work virtually with all of the current players of the local dredging market and have switched to the intensive format of relations building process: we gather the actual needs and requests from the existing clients for the new solutions to extend the range of our products and services. At the same time we now feel ourselves self-confident enough to start promoting our time proved products on the international market.
DT: Overall, 2016 was challenging around the globe in many ways, how did you sail through that period?
Mr Troitsky: It wasn’t that easy, as for everybody, however we’ve acquired some new respectful clients (including Damen) and have finalized several international projects, at the same time keeping the pace at home. We tried to spend this time for investing to the development of the new products and are very thrilled now by the results concerning the new sensors and the range of AtoN equipment. We are going to present all this to the industry during this year.
DT: Last year, Nonius took part at the 3rd International Forum of Dredging Companies in Moscow, are you planning the same visit this year and what about your event calendar for 2017?
Mr Troitsky: We’ve already booked the train tickets (we are based in St Petersburg) for this is impossible to miss this event. For the past three years it has become an important meeting place, presenting opportunities not only to share the news, but to meet our best clients – all at the same place.
Besides, we are going to take part in several Russian forums and conferences devoted to port construction and maritime industry. One of the most prominent is the Neva 2017 show to take place in St Petersburg this September. The following ones are SMM India (Mumbai) and Europort (Rotterdam), where we traditionally show the freshest results of our work.
DT: With more and more port expansion and development projects on the way in Russia, what is your opinion about current dredging market in the country?
Mr Troitsky: The structure of the market is seriously changing. For the past 25 years all the inner waterways have been handled by the state owned authorities by their own dredging fleet. The offshore marine infrastructure has been also funded by the state but the actual works were tendered and executed mostly by private contractors.
During the past several years the FSUE “Rosmorport” – the entity in charge of keeping the marine waterways and ports up and running – set a course for the extension of its own dredging means to handle the job themselves. The results of this shift for the industry are not clear yet, but this will definitely change the general situation.
DT: In recent years, Russia invested big in dredging market, especially construction of new dredgers. Are you satisfied with the current tempo and what are Russian’s capacities for this business segment?
Mr Troitsky: The general financial crisis has slowed down the planned speed of business processes in the industry 2-3 years ago and we still feel the results of this. But we will be trying to use all the existing opportunities and are lucky to have formed the proper market image of our company before the hard times so that by that time if there was some job for us we had good chances to win it. We do hope that the bottom is behind and in the upcoming years the industry will be accelerating its development for the natural opportunities and infrastructural demands are immense.
DT: What are your most important goals and business plans for the upcoming period?
Mr Troitsky: Our plans are to actively enter other national markets, including Europe and Asia, to keep on developing the range of existing products finalizing the new solutions, including those working on totally new principles. To go on perfecting, inventing and discovering!