The world’s largest shipyards are located in Asia, but business in this area can be successfully developed in our country, which has a long tradition of shipbuilding. Although a new generation of shipbuilders has not yet grown, Sergii Petrovskyi, a Ukrainian businessman who has been owner of the shipbuilding company CB Baltic, which has been operating in the port of Klaipeda for five years, has found a way to overcome this obstacle as well. He talks in detail about business challenges, problem-solving, and growth-enhancing outcomes.
- Tell your story - what led you to the shipbuilding? Perhaps you can point out a few reasons that led you to this business choice?
– I was born in Odessa, Ukraine. This city is one of the largest maritime centers in the Black Sea. Sea handling and logistics infrastructure and shipbuilding is developed here. Not coincidentally, I also chose to link my career to ships. I got a mathematical-engineering education and started working at the largest Ukrainian shipyard ISRZ. My career in the company has been successful – I have tried most of the positions in shipbuilding, stevedoring and other port-related positions.
Eventually, I became chairman of the company’s presidential council. I was running a company that employed more than 1,000 people. Approximately in 20 years I spent at ISRZ, we have built more than 100 ships of various sizes, modernized “Panamax” (i.e. 294 meters long) category ships, and built ships for almost all international companies. But I was constantly overwhelmed by the thought of starting my own business.
- What determined that your business was established in Lithuania?
– I had ambitions to grow my company from scratch. However, the economic and political situation in Ukraine was not stable, which dictated the decision to do business in a safer environment – in the European Union. Lithuania has become the best choice because our countries are culturally close, we are connected by close cultural and economic ties.
And people’s thinking, mentality are similar. However, the most important thing was that Lithuania is a maritime state with maritime traditions, ice-free shipyards in the port of Klaipeda, where we are located. These circumstances determined the final decision to build a business here.
– How many years have you been working in Lithuania?
– I have founded “CB Baltic” in Lithuania almost 5 years ago. At the moment, we can rightly enjoy the business results. A year of 2018 can be called our business turning point – we have achieved stability, we are executing shipbuilding orders from regular partners. Currently, we work mainly in Klaipeda port. With our work, we have proven that we are able to successfully apply the accumulated vast experience in the construction of ships, their segments or individual blocks.
- What prospects do you see?
– Lithuania is a very advanced country. In addition to the high level of business ethics here, we can be sure that when we fulfill our obligations, our partners fulfill theirs on time, we have nothing to complain about. Unlike in my home country, business in Lithuania is safe, so there is no need to worry about investments. Thus, such legal and economic stability encourages business development.
- What are the achievements of the last year?
– In recent years, the growth of our company is 400 percent per year. We currently have almost 70 employees, we have opened offices in Vilnius and Klaipeda, we also have a production and warehousing workshop here, we have purchased the latest equipment, we have a car park. All our processes are certified according to the international production ISO 9001 standard. So we can say that we are a modern company that has successfully entered the shipbuilding market.
- Are there challenges to achieve targeted results?
- What solution did you use to solve this problem?
– First of all, we took an opportunity to start a business with specialists from Ukraine. However, in recent years, there is already a shortage of workers in this field in Ukraine. In 2018, we took a strategic step and invited specialists from India to work, as shipbuilding in this country is well developed. We can say that currently Indian employees are becoming a strategic part of our company. Although they come from a different culture country, we focus on teamwork in our daily activities. All specialists of our company have many years of experience in the field of shipbuilding and international qualification certificates, so we speak the same engineering language at a professional level.
- Can you mention future prospects?
– As I mentioned, our company achieves stable results over time. we can say that we have gathered production staff, business management processes run smoothly. As I have less and less everyday worries to deal with, I can focus on new business ideas. Our immediate plans are to develop an engineering department, offer ship design services and supply equipment for professionals.