Making Inroads in the Far East

Pages 54-55

Together with Iceland’s Skaginn 3X and partners, processing technology firm Njord has signed two major contracts for delivery of fish processing plants in the Russian Far East—and is now eyeing a third large order in the same region.

Food industry development and project management consultancy Njord has, in collaboration with Icelandic equipment manufacturer Skaginn 3X and partners, signed contracts for delivery of two separate fish processing plants for a company in Russia’s Sakhalin region in the Far East. The first order, delivered in 2017, was followed by a second one early this year (2018), with construction completed and installation of machinery expected to begin by mid summer, according to Njord managing owner Arni Carlsen. He added that a third major order from another client in the Russian Far East would hopefully be signed within “the very near future.”

The Far East contract wins follow in the wake of Njord’s successful delivery, together with Skaginn 3X and partners, of two advanced fish processing plants in the Faroe Islands: Varðin Pelagic at Tvøroyri, opened in 2012, and Pelagos at Fuglafjørður, opened in 2014. The former, now rebuilt, redesigned and reinstalled, is set to reopen by August this year after a serious fire incident, which occurred in the early summer of 2017.

Apart from setting up large factories, Njord are frequently hired to help put together business development projects of various sizes, especially in the seafood industry.

“The industry’s demand for efficiency is rapidly increasing, as are standard requirements for food safety,” Mr. Carlsen said. “Food processors are therefore looking at how to optimize their production. There is fierce competition in most places, which means proper understanding of how to use new processing technology is critical to achieving good results—and that is something that needs to be taken into account before the launch of any food processing enterprise.”

“What we provide is a wide range of services and solutions for food processors, and that includes design and development as well as delivery and installation of equipment,” Mr. Carlsen said. “We do parts as well as entire factories—automated grading, filleting, chilling, freezing, packing, palleting, and more. The way we work is very technology-driven and analytical and we have access to industry-leading resources, not least through our close collaboration with Skaginn 3X.”

Kurils, Kamchatka

A growing proportion of Njord’s activities are dedicated to exports, whether to the near abroad or farther away. Apart from working with Skaginn 3X as an agent, Njord also has a sister consultancy in Denmark, Njord Technology. More recently a third entity has been set up in Moscow, Njord Russ. At the same time, Skaginn 3X has expanded by opening new sales offices in Norway and the Russian Federation.

“These are busy times both at home and oversees,” Mr. Carlsen noted. “Things seem to happen very fast in the Far East, more so than many of us would imagine. When I went over there for the first time as part of a technology assessment team, just about a couple of years ago, it didn’t take long before we’d be invited to the Kuril Islands to meet representatives of this diversified fishing company named JSC Gidrostroy. I think we had a great cultural fit, although it took a bit of an effort to get to the island of Iturup in the Kurils. Yet before we knew it, they had ordered a new pelagic processing plant, papers signed and everything—a quick but firm decision.”

A year later the ordered facility had been built and was up and running, equipped with state-of-the-art processing technology. Then shortly after, by February 2018, a new contract was signed with the same client, who happens to be one of the major fish industry players in the Russian Far East.

That new facility now underway is located on the island of Shikotan, also in the Kurils; it will be equipped with technology to grade, pack and freeze 900 tonnes of pelagic fish per day, according to Mr. Carlsen. “The cooling, handling and freezing technology is expected help raise product quality and drive demand,” he said.

In a separate development, meanwhile, on the Kamchatka Peninsula, a potential client is considering an offer on a complete processing plant for pelagic fish.

“This is an exciting case as well and we’ve already gone through a range of analyses and, based on that, a proposed solution has been presented,” Mr. Carlsen said in May 2018. “The impression is our proposal has been received favorably and is being considered in a positive light; so we hope a contract will be signed in the very near future.”

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