Published in the Aboard online magazine 5.6.2023
Turku Free Zone Company currently has some 500 containers of goods that are destined to the world’s biggest luxury cruise liner Icon of the Seas 1. The same number of containers is still to arrive, putting the total to around 1,000 containers.
“The materials range from IT hardware to roulette tables and from kitchen equipment to interior decoration items. There are hundreds of thousands of individual pallets or packages”, says Stefan Lindström, Managing Director of Turku Free Zone Company.
About four containers per day still keep arriving and the rate will accelerate further as the project is moving on. Shipments come to Turku from around the world, and the logistics services are provided by Hellmann Worldwide Logistics.
“Transports from Turku Free Zone Company to the Meyer shipyard will commence later this year when the furnishing of the ship is ready to start.”
Free Zone Company hosts the shipping company’s branch office
Turku Free Zone Company has participated in big shipbuilding projects also previously. For Royal Caribbean it has, however, developed a new and more comprehensive service concept.
“We have arranged plenty of space for Royal Caribbean and there are around 20 employees of the shipping company working here. We set up dedicated offices and telecommunication connections for the shipping company’s staff. The employees are continuously in contact with their head office in Miami. In a way the Free Zone Company hosts the shipping company’s branch office”, Mr Lindström describes.
In practice, the employees of Royal Caribbean e.g. unload goods from the pallets and re-group them. The idea is that this way they can be taken directly to the right deck, the right department and exactly the right place on the ship. At the same time, packaging materials are reduced to avoid unnecessary fire load on board.
The enormous number of packages is kept under control with the Free Zone Company’s ultramodern warehouse management systems. According to Mr Lindström, they were one important reason Royal Caribbean chose them as partners.
“We are able to track and locate each package from arrival to departure and throughout storage. That way the right packages can be taken to the ship at the right time and the Customs can also be informed about the goods transports.”
It’s cold in Turku but the people are warm
Royal Caribbean’s Inventory Manager Jayson Dsouza, for example, has been working at the Free Zone Company for a long time. He is very satisfied with the co-operation with the Free Zone Company.
“We have plenty of space here, around 10,000 square metres. The transports also function well, and the shipyard is located just next to us”, Mr Dsouza says – and is sorry that the company’s non-disclosure policy prevents him from telling about the operations in more detail at this point.
Mr Dsouza came to Turku from India.
“It’s rather cold in Turku, but the people here are very friendly”, he says and chuckles.
Text: Matti Välimäki
Photos and video: Ilari Välimäki