Competitiveness in construction of offshore fish farms - Assessment of cost and strategic aspects
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- Institutt for marin teknikk 
The main objective in this thesis is to investigate whether Norwegian yards can be competitive with respect to construction of offshore fish farms. To illuminate this objective, this master thesis is carried out with a theoretical study and an empirical study. The theoretical study consists of a literature review which aims to provide a theoretical platform which works as background information for further analysis, while the empirical study consists of both quantitative and qualitative research methods. A high-level cost estimate provided by a Norwegian yard and the project cost distribution for the offshore fish farm pilot project when building in China forms the basis for the quantitative analysis. The high-level cost estimate aims to evaluate, compare and test several aspects. The first aspect is related to a production cost comparison between the Norwegian yard and the yard in China. Secondly, the next aspect is related to the evaluation and investigation of competitive assembly strategies for the offshore fish farm structure considering construction at Norwegian yards. The last aspect is related to the investigation whether automation technology can be a viable investment for the Norwegian yard under consideration, by looking at the cost saving potential by implementing automation technology to the production line. Specific production strategies related to the assembly of offshore fish farm components forms the basis for the qualitative analysis. The strategies are related to specific assembly strategies of individual steel panels, final assembly of the steel panels and alternative load out phase strategies. The strategies are developed in close cooperation with a Norwegian yard and the strategies are therefore based on their production strategy, yard capacity, yard infrastructure and production equipment. The main results from the production cost comparison shows minor cost differences between the Norwegian yard and the yard in China. Looking isolated on the production cost, the Norwegian yard is somewhat more expensive compared to the yard in China. Taking the transport cost of the offshore fish farm from China to Norway into account, gives a relative cost difference where the Norwegian yard is cheaper. According to this result, the Norwegian yard can be interpreted as competitive on cost compared to the Chinese yard taking the transport cost into account. In addition, the cost saving potential by implementing automation technology to the production line at the Norwegian yard, can potentially justify a large investment cost in terms of automation technology equipment.Despite the yard production cost differences between the Norwegian yard and the Chinese yard, there are several other aspects which out-weights the cost disadvantage for the Norwegian yard. The aspects provide the Norwegian yard with a competitive advantage compared to production in China. One of the main aspects is related to the interaction between the engineering and construction phase. The positive effects by integrated EPC contracts provided by Norwegian yards gives several advantages. Some main examples are shorter delivery time of offshore fish farms, reduced lead time due to greater degree of overlapping engineering and construction phase, safer supply chains and smaller follow up costs at the yard. Considering the potential for a series production of offshore fish farms at Norwegian yards in general, will require investment in terms of improved infrastructure and production equipment. Examples on investments could be in a potential skidding system, a dry dock with sufficient capacity for production of the industrial version of offshore fish farms and automation technology equipment which reduces man-hours spent and thus the total production costs.The Norwegian yard which is used as collaborator can be competitive when it comes to construction of offshore fish farm seen in relation to the cost differences when taking the transport cost into account but also based on the production strategies developed. Considering all the investments mentioned, the most important part is the estimated production volumes of offshore fish farms. All investment costs need to be put in context to the planned production volumes of offshore fish farms for Norwegian yards to be competitive in the construction phase of the project. The specific production volumes are strongly dependent whether the pilot project proves to be successful or not. Despite this, it is essential for the Norwegian aquaculture industry to develop different types of offshore fish farms to able to solve current and future challenges within the industry.