Marell Boats – A Volcano Under Ice
Marell Boats specialise in robust, high-speed boats for a wide variety of practical applications – but they are also much sought after in the leisure sector.
“A wolf in a sheepskin,” “A volcano under the ice.” These are ways Marell Boats’ customers have described its products.
“A lot of people when they see this boat, they see this mix of two qualities which is the real trademark of Marell, a high-speed interceptor and a comfortable cruiser,” says Gerard Törneman, Head of Global Sales at Marell Boats. “The boats are always designed and tested for high speed in rough weather conditions at the same time giving great comfort and safe feeling for the crew and passengers. You operate the boat sitting from a central position, with full control of the surroundings, in all types of operations and in high-speed manoeuvres. We have had responses from the US to the Far East, saying this is the best hull they have seen and we are really happy just to hear that. You get a total dry deck, no spray on the front window and the boat running full ahead at 50 knots. Everyone says they have the best hull, but we really do have the best hull!”
It is a hull borne out of Marell Boats’ towering ambition, led by CEO Patrik Söderholm.
“We are not afraid to shoot for the moon and, that is an approach we have followed so far with awesome results,” Söderholm tells us. “We take a long-term view, finding our own market niches. When I look at the kind of boat, we are producing now compared to what was being made five or six years ago, it is crazy just how far we have come.”
Marell’s boats fit a wide variety of purposes, for business and pleasure.
“Clients say they want a rough boat but with that luxury feel inside,” Söderholm says. “The mix of that huge navy style from outside with an elegant boat inside. It is a market we see growing in the future.”
At the same time, a tumultuous international situation is suggesting other applications.
“When we see projects coming up because of countries worried about their blue borders, we will develop the boats to be there,” says Törneman. “We also see license production of high-speed interceptors and patrol boats around the world, in South America, the Middle East and South-East Asia for this purpose.”
Söderholm is able to drive this level of innovation and improvement thanks to his vast experience in the sector.
“When you have so much experience from your own background it gives you a real competitive edge,” he says. “I have been building & welding aluminium boats for 40 years and I have been working with the design of boats for a long time. I know about engineering and manufacturing processes, and how to spend too much time and material making something. Our way forward is to manage our growth by optimising all production steps, for instance, you can use sheet metal bent into position to save welding time and create a more robust & higher quality product.”
Built for Quality
That quality is crucial, as Marell is competing in some of the highest stakes markets out there for boats in its class. As a relative newcomer, it is essential that Marell is able to meet those standards.
“When you start up this kind of company, and it’s just five or six years old, you need to get the market to trust you,” Söderholm says. “That is the biggest challenge, particularly if you want to aim for the big orders.”
“This is particularly true in the police and patrol boat segment, where we want to establish Marell in the future,” Törneman adds. “Those boats are held to the highest standard. We have received a lot of good feedback from people who have tested our boats for those applications, and the price is quite high but accepted because of the quality we provide. These organisations pay for quality, and when you are in a public tender you often find that puts ahead of the competition.”
To get and stay ahead of the competition it is essential to know how the market and its requirements are developing.
“The world is changing all the time. Just now, when we are looking for tenders from the government, for example, they want boats with a minimum of 50 knots of speed. Recently it was only 30 knots,” Törneman says. “But we know how to handle and make boats with that kind of high-speed performance.”
While Marell Boats is a relatively young company, even aside from Söderholm’s extensive industry experience, the company has decades of knowledge to draw from.
“We are based in an area in Sweden where aluminium boats have been built for 45 years. Our staff and our families come from here,” Söderholm says. “The people living here have this knowledge and this tactical common sense. So, it is easy to recruit people with the necessary technical knowledge.
It also means Marell Boats has access to leading business partners in the industry, something that has proved essential when the company is pushing the envelope.
“When you go into system design, we work together with engine manufacturers, with electronics companies and so forth,” says Söderholm.
You can see this approach put to work in Marell’s latest breakthrough product, the development of a next-generation sustainable and technologically advanced vessel, the M17 Patrol vessel with a hybrid driveline. The project is being developed in collaboration with Scania Power Solutions.
“It is a masterpiece in engineering and complexity in propulsion and electric systems,” Söderholm says. “We cannot do this on our own. We do it with a team of excellent partners with whom we can cooperate. People know their own specialist sector, whether it is water jet manufacturing, control system manufacturing, or making the seats and fittings. That is how we built the company. We can grow it without employing more people but by supporting our business partners.”
Business and Pleasure
It is a boat built for speed, resilience and efficiency, and there is a wide range of people and organisations who can make use of it. However, regardless of the customer, Marell will not compromise on quality.
“I am out selling the boats for commercial and leisure purposes. Our high-speed interceptor is a quite rough and tough boat. It is designed to take the impact from high waves and high speeds,” says Törneman. “When you’re selling leisure boats in the Mediterranean the customers want a lot of extra features, but Patrik will say, ‘You can have this so long as it does not affect the design and performance of the boat.’ We do not put in lots of unnecessary leisure amenities. We are not making luxury yachts, we are making high-speed interceptors for the Police, Fire Brigade, chase boats and so on. We do not build to the customer’s design. We build to their requirements, but Patrik’s design is intended to preserve features that need to be safeguarded in all boats we deliver.”
It is an approach that has put Marell in a leading position.
“We’ll be the market leader of high-speed interceptors, patrol boats and chase boats in the 12-to-17-metre range for surveillance or customs duties,” says Söderholm. “On top of that, we will be in the lead with our new propulsion system coming up. We are already providing the first hybrid boats, and when they go electric, we will be providing the first high-speed boats with electric propulsion. It is all coming to a front in high-speed applications.”
While there is demand in the policing, patrol, and rescue applications, sometimes a fast boat like this is just fun.
“People like to have the most impressive leisure boat that’s not a princess boat,” Söderholm tells us. “It’s something completely different.”