Shreyas Shipping and Logistics has announced it has added a 1,613teu container vessel to its fleet.
"This new addition to our fleet has been named as MV SSL Visakhapatnam as we dedicate this vessel to the port city of Visakhapatnam. We are associated with the port of Visakhapatnam over a period now and are committed to the trade at large," said the company in a statement.
As the downturn in the number of new vessel orders last year took hold, shipyards' flexibility to switch sectors to take orders became a key factor in their ability to face up to an extremely challenging period. Tanker newbuild orders provided one source of business amongst the gloom, so how able did yards prove in demonstrating their adaptability to take advantage of this demand?
Tankers On the Table
The tanker sector was one of the few bright spots for shipbuilding in 2015, with the volume of new tonnage ordered reaching its highest level since 2008. A total of 456 tankers of a combined 49.5m dwt were contracted globally, an increase of 72% year-on-year. This was in stark contrast to the majority of other markets in which newbuilding interest in 2015 was muted. As a result, many yards struggling to secure new contracts, particularly for bulkers, diversified into the tanker sector.
While Korean yards took the largest share (46%) of tanker orders in 2015 in dwt terms, many shipbuilders in Japan and China which had not recently taken tanker contracts were particularly active in entering or returning to the sector. Looking at vessels of 60,000 dwt and above, 33 shipyards took an order in 2015, the highest total since 2006.
New, Flexible Friends
This compares to the 18 yards which took a 60,000+ dwt tanker order in 2013, when 528 tankers of 37.6m dwt were contracted. Of those 'extra' yards that didn't take any 60,000+ dwt tanker contracts in 2013, but did secure contracts in 2015, 5 had never previously taken a tanker order on record. A further 4 yards had not taken any tanker orders in the period 2010-14. The majority of these 9 shipyards were primarily bulkcarrier builders which diversified into the sector in 2015 as their normal source of new contracts dried up. As well as these 'new' players, there were also 2 yards which had taken tanker orders previously, but only for vessels under 60,000 dwt. Upsizing was a clear short-term trend in tanker ordering in 2015, with the average size of new orders reaching 108,500 dwt compared to 77,200 dwt in 2014, and some yards were able to win contracts for bigger vessels for the first time.
Changes in China, and Japan
The number of Japanese yards taking a tanker contract (60,000+ dwt) tripled between 2013 and 2015, with 9 yards taking a total of 47 orders last year. Meanwhile in China, 12 yards took orders last year for 81 tankers of 60,000+ dwt, up from 6 yards in 2013. The majority of the 'extra' builders across both countries were previously focused on the bulkcarrier sector, diversifying into tanker construction in order to secure new work. Outside of the major Asian builder countries, Spanish yard Navantia Ferrol notably signed contracts for 4 Suezmaxes, the first 60,000+ dwt tankers reported ordered at a Western European yard since 1998.
Overall then, the tanker sector provided some relief to shipyards in 2015. Many yards unable to find work building bulkcarriers took the opportunity to diversify into the healthier tanker sector, showing that flexibility is likely to be a key factor in how well shipyards will fare in a very challenging period.
Dubai-based shipping company Gulf Navigation Holding PJSC (GulfNav) is planning to add new tonnage to its fleet of product and chemical tankers and reinforce its shipping services business.
The fleet growth plan was announced by the company at a recent press conference, with GulfNav setting sights on new projects and activities in offshore support services, increasing shipping services and marine product sales and distribution through expansion of shipping services network within the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.
The plans also include engaging in trip time charters by working and trading vessels on spot hire; acquiring vessels on bare boat with purchase option; purchasing work boats for offshore projects; and building global network with business stakeholders and third-party owned vessel management under the Gulf Stolt Ship Management (GSSM) umbrella.
Specifically, GulfNav has acquired 100 percent stake of GSSM which was previously a 50/50 joint venture with Stolt Neilson to develop the in-house ship management arm.
Under the plan, Technical Services is proposed to be a ship repair maintenance and technical service provider. The new service facilities will be operating out of an existing Khorfakkan base of the company and cater to the shipping needs in the northern part of the UAE (Khorfakkan, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah) and Gulf of Oman.
The shipping company also revealed the appointment of Khamis Juma Buamim as the new Board Member, Managing Director and Group CEO who is set to head the company's restructuring process and lead its expansion plans.
The new MD & Group CEO was previously the Executive Chairman of Drydocks World and Maritime World from May 2010 until March 2015 and has led the organization through its restructuring during a global financial crisis.
"With his wealth of experience and knowledge in businesses turnarounds, he will be instrumental in seeing through the company to restructure its balance sheet and resolve residual issues. Most importantly, his prominent role and stellar reputation within the maritime sector make him uniquely capable to open new doors for GulfNav and create opportunities and partnerships to realize its expansion plans," said GulfNav's Chairman Abdulla Saeed Abdulla Brook Al Hemeiri.
The seventh and last from the batch of livestock carriers built by COSCO for Dutch shipping company Vroon has been recently launched at Chinese Cosco Guangdong Shipyard.
The carrier measures a length of 134.8m and a breadth of 19.6 meters.
Six newbuilding livestock carriers have already been delivered to the company by COSCO. The first two vessels were built in 2013, the other two in 2014, and the remaining two in 2016.
Vroon says that the vessels incorporate specific bow design ensuring comfort for cargo and crew while maintaining high speeds.
The vessels have a cargo capacity of approximately 4,600 m2, with a cruising range of around 18,000 NM.
Zhoushan Changhong International Shipyard Co., Ltd., a leading shipbuilder based in Zhejiang province, China, successfully launched a 63,500dwt bulk carrier being built for New Yangtze Navigation (Hong Kong) on April 19.
The vessel measures 199.99m in length overall, 32.26m in breadth moulded, and 18.50m in depth moulded, with the design draft of 11.30m. It is classed by LR.
It is said that the vessel is a second one in a series.
Florida-based shipping company Crowley Maritime Corporation took delivery on April 15 of a product tanker Louisiana, which is the third of four newbuilds having a potential for future conversion to LNG propulsion.
Designed by South Korean Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD), the four Jones Act product tankers are being built for the company by Philly Shipyard (PSI) in Philadelphia.
The vessel is capable of carrying 330,000 barrels of product.
With its length of 600 feet, Louisiana has the capacity to transport crude oil or refined petroleum products, as well as various chemical cargoes.
"Milestones like today show we can deliver solutions that reinforce the value of the Jones Act vessels and American-built and American-crewed trade," said Rob Grune, Crowley's senior vice president and general manager, petroleum services.
"We are proud to deliver another Philly-born tanker, the shipyard's fifth tanker for Crowley and 23rd vessel in total," Philly Shipyard's President and CEO Steinar Nerbovik remarked.
Louisiana joined sister ships Ohio and Texas, which were delivered in October and December 2015, respectively. They were the first tankers to receive the American Bureau of Shipping's (ABS) LNG-Ready Level 1 approval, allowing the conversion to LNG propulsion in the future.
Crowley's fourth tanker is under construction at PSI and its delivery is planned for the third quarter of 2016.
Amid the doldrums in the shipbuilding industry, Chinese yards are struggling to survive. Jinhai Heavy Industry (JHI), an affiliate shipyard of China's transport giant HNA Group, is eyeing a major transformation. The yard has been stung by many cancellations.
According to Li Weijian, president of JHI, the shipyard has been making efforts to optimise its assets through streamlining its businesses and enhancing its technical level.
JHI has spun off and integrated several departments of the shipyard in the areas of design, sales and production, to make them run as independent subsidiaries to increase operation efficiency.
"The move has made our operation network more clear," Li says.
"I think currently the major problem in the domestic shipbuilding industry is not overcapacity but lack of efficiency. It might not be obvious in the good times, but when the market got worse, the drawbacks in production have been enlarged by the capital leverage," Li says.
According to Li, JHI is transforming the shipyard from traditional heavy industry to a precision industry firm in terms of both production and technology in order to get more high-value added orders.
Currently JHI has on hand orders for 62 vessels, with high-value added vessel types – including mega containerships, VLCCs and offshore platforms – accounting for more than 90% of the orders.
The shipyard has also used some idle capacity to develop its ship repair business. JHI established a dedicated ship repair subsidiary in 2015 and is now looking to develop a ship repair base in Zhoushan.
"Zhoushan has all the conditions needed to become the world's largest ship repair base," Li said.
"In these challenging times, the shipbuilding industry needs a re-balance between supply and demand. We as a shipyard need to join the revolution in both production and technology, so we can recover fast when the next round of opportunities come," Li concludes.
Chinese shipyard Yuexin Ocean Engineering delivered a 32m azimuth tugboat named AL MOBIN 4 to its shipowner from the Middle East on April 12, according to a domestic shipping news report.
The vessel measures 11.6m in breadth moulded and 5.36m in depth moulded, with the maximum designed draft of 5.81m, the report added.
Chinese shipyards have seen an increase in newbuilding orders in the first quarter of 2016, according to data released by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
From January to March of 2016, the country's newbuilding orders jumped by 23,9 percent to 7.42 million dwt, compared to the same period a year earlier, while the shipyards constructed 8.35 million dwt in vessel tonnage during the first quarter, down by 11.8 percent.
The Chinese orderbook backlog decreased by 17 percent, as it stood at 120.35 million dwt by the end of March.
Due to a global oversupply of vessels, the Chinese shipbuilding industry struggled to stay afloat as it encountered a major decline in newbuilding orders.
During the first quarter of the year a total of 77 new ships were ordered, against the 375 ships ordered in the corresponding period in 2015, data released by Clarksons shows.
In January only 15 newbuilding orders were placed, compared to 179 in the corresponding month in 2015.
In February the number slightly increased to 17 orders, while the newbuilding contracts continued to rise in March as well, as shipowners ordered 45 new vessels, Clarksons figures indicate.
The ordering slump seems to be subsiding as 23 orders have already been booked for April, bringing the overall orderbook for this year to 100 new ships.
The Independence, a tanker built by California-based shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO, has set sail for sea trials and testing along the San Diego coastline.
The Independence is the first in a series of ECO Class tankers being built for the SEA-Vista fleet and the vessel will be operated by Seabulk Tankers.
Featuring a length of 185.9 meters, the vessel is an LNG-conversion-ready product tanker capable of carrying 330,000 barrels of cargo.
The construction of this 50,000dwt vessel began in November 2014.