As an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands with 2,000 that are inhabited, ships are the lifeblood of the Philippines. From ferries moving people to different cities to coastal cargo ships carrying traded goods, the ability to move across the seas ties this growing nation of more than 100 million people together.
With a fleet of over 15 ships, 2GO Travel links the people of the Philippines as the country’s largest passenger ferry operator. Serving 19 cities across the island nation, 2GO provides a crucial way for Filipinos to experience its natural beauty and distinct culture.
The vessels that 2GO operates are getting very busy these days. The Filipino Middle Class expanded by 5.8 percent in 2015, putting the country among the top-five largest nations in terms of Middle Class growth. As the Middle Class increases, more Filipinos have the means to spend on travel to destinations across the islands.
No one has seen this growth more up close than Ed Dela Cruz, the vice president of 2GO’s ship management department. “The passenger growth (for us) has initiated with the economy improving. There is an improvement in the purchasing power of the people and they have extra money for vacations and going to their home provinces” he said, adding that the travel demand is a key driver for the growth of 2GO’s business.
Seeking a solution
But while business is growing, like all seafarers, 2GO must deal with costs of maintaining its ships, including the struggle to overcome fouling on its hulls. Fouling is the buildup of tiny and not-so-tiny aquatic organisms that attach themselves to the bottom of boats creating drag and impacting handling and ultimately increasing the cost of operating a vessel.
Dela Cruz states the anti-fouling efforts are crucial for someone in his position since a good anti-fouling system results in a shorter down-time for his ships. 2GO had tried various ways to remedy their fouling issues but were still left with a large number of organisms on their hulls and corrosion would occur quickly after initial painting and dry docking.
Enter Jonathan Dumas, a sales executive with Mega Paints, the Philippines-based distributor of AkzoNobel marine coatings business, who saw their corrosion issues and convinced them to switch to the International® range of anti-fouling coatings.
Dumas began his relationship with 2GO about four years ago and heard their complaints about how their anti-fouling systems then in use were causing their fuel consumption to rise at a time when fuel costs were high.
Based on Dumas’ recommendations, 2GO switched to the International® range of anti-fouling coatings, with six ships using the Interswift® series of coatings. Recently one more ship has upgraded their coating system to Intercept®, while a second vessel is currently in dry dock in the Philippines in the process of applying Intercept, said Dumas.
“I enjoy working with the 2GO Group as they like to adopt new technology and are open to ideas,” said Dumas, adding that it was the chairman of 2GO who prompted a look at International’s anti-fouling coatings.
Gaining the mileage
The owner decided to upgrade to Intercept 7000 from Interspeed 6200 based on the analysis from Intertrac Vision, AkzoNobel’s consultancy tool providing ship operators with predictions on the fuel and emission savings.
Intercept achieves these savings through a technical breakthrough known as linear polishing, which allows a steady breakdown of the surface coating to release the biocide underneath in a controlled, predictable manner that keeps organisms from adhering to the hull.
“By building the relationship with 2GO Group, we further penetrated a competitive market in the Philippines where we compete with global and local companies that produce their own domestically manufactured coatings”, according to Steven Wong, the Singapore-based sales manager for AkzoNobel marine coatings. “The ability of Intertrac Vision to clearly show the cost savings that 2GO could achieve by using Intercept 7000 versus its previous anti-fouling was key to persuading them to switch.”
“For 2Go, we were able to show them what they are paying for and what are the benefits,” continued Wong. “By upgrading their coating technology and paying a bit more, they are actually saving on their maintenance costs over the next three years.”
“This combination of fuel savings, shorter application time and a longer time between overhauls all adds up to more time for 2GO’s ships to be on the water, carrying passengers,” said a pleased Dela Cruz.
“If we can save seven days (for maintenance), that’s at least two more round trips of revenue,” he said.