Where do many of our customers converge in the US? Houston, the heart of commercial shipping in the Gulf of Mexico, for one. So we opened our fourth international Center of Excellence there in March. Existing and new international customers can come here for support and our complete product range such as our integrated bridge solutions like the unique tugboat console, and our river radar of which more than 3,500 have been sold in Europe.
Many of our customers are internationally oriented. Alphatron Marine wants to be directly available to provide support to them, in the same time zone, wherever that is. Houston offers an optimum transport infrastructure that allows us to reach our customers quickly and to offer customers the required product training, technical support, service on board (repair and inspection) and deal with guarantee issues for North, Central and South America. The Center of Excellence in Houston also acts as the distribution center for Alphatron and JRC (our partner) products in America.
River radar to the US
‘Apart from providing our existing customers with a better service, we also see the US as a growth market,’ says Michel Melgert, Manager Projects & Logistics at Alphatron Marine. He left for America this spring for a year to help set up the new Center of Excellence in Houston. Michel: ‘Alphatron’s R&D department in Rotterdam (NL) is working hard every day to find solutions for our customers to improve navigation and communication on board. One of these solutions is our river radar, the JMA 610, which has been successfully received in Europe. This innovative radar is also perfectly suited for inland sipping vessels on rivers like the Mississippi. And inland shippers have been very positive in their reactions; one captain-owner was really impressed by the very sharp, digital picture, something he had never previously encountered. He currently has the river radar on board so that he can “test it out in practice”.’
Tugboat console for Seacor Holdings
Apart from interest in the river radar we have also received the first order in Houston from the American giant Seacor Holdings for our unique tugboat bridge solution: the AlphaBridge variant for tugs and ferries that offers visibility all around the ship and uncompromised control of the ship. The comprehensive wheelhouse of its ASD (Azimuth Stern Drive) tugs will be equipped with this modular bridge. Also, we are servicing our customers with the delivery of parts from our warehouse and have already had the first VDR training courses.
Our team in Houston works with our regional offices in Seattle (Washington), Lyndhurst (New Jersey), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Cuidad del Carmen (Mexico) as well as with our extensive dealer network and the other Centers of Excellence in Rotterdam (NL), Singapore and Tokyo (Japan).