Shipbuilding Project Management: Hands-On Diplomacy

The new Super 1A Ice Class ferry design for Wasaline. Foreship acted as a consultant to the owner throughout the procurement process (Foreship)

Published Jun 25, 2019 9:44 AM by Foreship

After seven months in his post as Foreship’s head of project management services, Viktor Gingsjo has become accustomed to a role that involves managing internal resources but is also customer-facing. 

The newly-created role formalizes the ‘hands-on’ project management and engineering services Foreship offers throughout shipbuilding or conversion and repair projects that have been growing in scale and complexity with each passing year. Today, he heads a group of consultants focused on the key practical challenges facing marine engineering, such as how to design, install and integrate novel systems and equipment,  alternative fuels, and the optimization of waste heat recovery in an existing ship. 
The new team leader transitioned to consultancy after some years at sea, working his way up to the first engineer level before moving to shore-based roles as owner’s NB superintendent and project manager for an integration company. He then returned to sea briefly as chief engineer to help a newly formed shipping company get started. This background is at variance with the bulk of the naval architecture and engineering specialists at Foreship, and it brings a special kind of insight to the work that considers the ship from an operating point of view. 

One of the owners in question was Viking Line, and Gingsjo is one of very few who can claim both superintendent and operational experience overseeing the design, construction and operation of a safe and efficient LNG-fuelled vessel, in this case Viking Grace. He says that it was this experience that opened his eyes to the possibilities available through a permanent move ashore.

“Once I had been involved in an intriguing project like that, it became difficult to envisage going back to a sailing career,” Gingsjo says. Instead, he moved to a project manager role ashore, working on eight scrubber installations, “piping to electrical,” on one cruise vessel and five ROROs.  

The projects have proven invaluable in his work with Foreship, says Gingsjo, where he has been involved as a consultant for LNG-powered passenger vessels and as a design manager for hybrid propulsion for a ROPAX ship and a battery-powered commuter ferry project. However, he also emphasizes that when a customer uses services from Foreship, it is “not buying one guy, but the expertise of the whole company.” 

Recently, Gingsjo has been part of the team contributing to the new Super 1A Ice Class Wasaline freight-passenger ferry, which will operate between Umeå in Sweden and Vaasa in Finland. Foreship provided the concept design, GA and machinery concepts for a ship that will feature dual-fuel LNG propulsion combined with battery power. Other current projects are of a more confidential nature and are likely to test the full range of the team’s project management skills.

“Of course we have the design and engineering skills that the owners need, and we can run projects from feasibility study to commissioning,” Gingsjo says. “But we are also involved in all the phases, from budgeting and supplier evaluation, to documentation, subcontractor management and integration, taking on a diplomatic role between stakeholders. We’re also a pair of hands for the owner to use that allows them to focus on their core business - the operational part.”

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.