By tradition, commercial boat traffic in China is enormous. At sea, on rivers and in lake systems, huge volumes of goods and people are transported by boat. Sea transport is increasing the whole time to keep pace with economic growth in China.
The same trend can be seen in the Chinese leisure boat industry. Interest in boating is increasing and the high rate of economic growth means that an increasingly large group of Chinese consumers are able to buy leisure boats.
As a result, more and more people have the opportunity to enjoy boating, but this then increases the negative environmental impact.
As a world-leading boat engine supplier, Volvo Penta has been working for decades in a systematic, targeted way to reduce the environmental impact of boat engines. Environmental concern is one of Volvo Penta’s core values and enormous development resources have been invested in producing cleaner, quieter and more efficient engines.
Using the latest technology, Volvo Penta has launched drive systems with advanced electronics that have brought about a dramatic reduction in environmental impact compared with earlier drive systems. With a complete range of engines with power outputs from around 10 horsepower to 900 horsepower, Volvo Penta today offer environmentally world leading drive systems for power boats and sailing boats from around 20 feet up to 100 feet.
Best product programme
“This is the marine industry’s best product range – both in terms of environment and performance. Customers today are demanding and aware and they want both improved performance and a reduced environmental impact. Our engineers have succeeded in producing both these things at the same time,” says Giorgio Paris, head of Volvo Penta Region Asia.
One example is the IPS system with forward-facing propellers. Seven years ago, when Volvo Penta launched this system, it represented a radical new thinking. Compared with traditional straight shafts, boats with IPS (Inboard Performance System) were suddenly improved in every respect. They were faster, more powerful, quieter, easier to manoeuvre – and, at the same time, significantly more fuel efficient. In one fell swoop, Volvo Penta was able to reduce the fuel consumption of boats by around 30 per cent and in many cases even more.
“The environmental advantages are amazing and our customers quickly realise that IPS is good both for the environment and for their pockets! With IPS, we created a totally new segment within which we are currently the undisputed market leaders,” says Giorgio Paris.
At the present time, a large part of commercial sea transport in China is done using an old engine population which, in comparison with new, more modern engines, are inefficient and have far poorer environmental features. This represents huge potential for both Volvo Penta and the environment.
“The larger the percentage of old engines that are replaced by Volvo Penta engines, the greater the positive environmental effects. It’s a simple as that. We are working really hard to help customers in both commercial shipping and the leisure boat industry to recognise the environmental benefits of our products,” says Giorgio Paris.
In conjunction with the World Expo in Shanghai a few years ago, following an extremely detailed environmental evaluation, the organisers ordered Volvo Penta engines for 22 new passenger ferries. Volvo Penta lived up more effectively than anyone else to the exhibition theme of “Better city, better life”. These ferries are currently operating in regular traffic on the River Huangpu and are generating important environmental benefits compared with local engine alternatives.
Today, when the 17th China International Boat Show in Shanghai opens its doors, interest is once again at record levels. The show has outgrown its previous location in central Shanghai and is moving to the far larger Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Centre to be able to welcome more exhibitors and visitors.
Like last year, Volvo Penta is once again partner and sponsor of the show with the aim of displaying its ambitions for the Chinese leisure boat market.
“We believe in China as a significant future market for leisure boats. The large European and US boat brands are successively increasing their sales and presence in China and we are planning to grow our operations together with them and to secure a high service and aftermarket presence for our Chinese customers,” says Giorgio Paris.
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