Europe's short sea RoRo operator United European Car Carriers (UECC) has launched its new dual-fuel liquefied natural gas (LNG) pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) TBN AUTO ECO.
The vessel, the first of its kind ordered with an LNG fuel propulsion system, was built to Lloyd's Register (LR) class.
The next milestones for the ship will be sea trials and gas trials, where its dual-fuel capabilities will be put to the test and its engines will run solely on LNG.
TBN AUTO ECO, which was constructed at NACKS shipyard in Nantong, China, is the first of two LR classed dual-fuel LNG PCTCs ordered in March 2014.
The vessel is scheduled to be delivered to UECC on Sept. 28, 2016 in Nantong, China, while the second car carrier is also expected to join its owner in the second half of the year.
Featuring a length of 181 metres with a 30 metre beam, the vessels will have 1A super Finnish/Swedish ice class.
With capacity for approximately 3,800 cars, it will be the largest PCTC type vessel specifically designed for transiting the Baltic and other ice prone areas.
Dalian COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co., Ltd. (DACKS), jointly invested by China Ocean Shipping Group Company (COSCO) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI), delivered a 61,000dwt bulk carrier to a foreign shipowner in a naming and delivering ceremony held on April 26, reported a domestic shipping news portal.
The vessel is the first one in a series of two for the shipowner.
The vessel measures 199.90m in length, 32.24m in breadth moulded, and 18.60m in depth moulded, with the design speed of 15.8 knots, according to the report.
Cosco Zhoushan Shipyard, part of Singapore-listed Cosco Corporation, has recently inked a contract with Greek shipowner Aegean Shipping Management for the construction of four 113,000dwt tankers, according to a domestic shipping news portal.
The deliveries will start from 2018.
The Greek shipowner did not reveal the concrete prices of the four vessels, noting that the price for each one is well below the current market average of US$56.5m.
Newbuilding activity fell to historically low levels in 2015 and just 77 orders have been reported in the first quarter of 2016. Compared to average annual contract volumes over the last decade, owners in many major shipping countries placed orders for significantly less tonnage last year. However, in one or two of the key owner nations investors did manage to buck the global trend.
Appetite for Newbuildings
Newbuild activity provides one indication of an owner country’s likely future fleet growth, though secondhand sale and purchase and demolition activity will also influence the size of an owner country’s fleet. Over the last decade, shipowners’ fleet expansion plans have generally been fairly positive, and an annual average of 91.8m GT was ordered between 2005 and 2014. However, contracting slowed in 2015 with 70.2m GT contracted and newbuild demand has been extremely limited in 2016 so far with only 1.6m GT reported ordered. In numerical terms the decline has been even more stark, as interest in the larger ship types supported the tonnage ordering total last year.
European Ordering Down
Greek owners accounted for the largest volume of orders placed 2005-14 with an average 14.0m GT ordered. In 2015, Greek owners pulled back from the newbuild market, and with limited bulker contracting, Greek order volumes fell to 7.8m GT, 44% below the historical average 2005-14. Meanwhile, German owners ordered 68% less tonnage in 2015, 2.4m GT, compared to an average of 7.6m GT p.a. 2005-14, reflecting the overall decline in German ordering since the collapse of the KG finance system. Norwegian and Italian owners also accounted for relatively fewer newbuild orders in GT terms and in 2015 ordering levels fell 30% and 50% below their 2005-14 averages with 2.8m GT and 1.6m GT contracted respectively. A depressed offshore market reduced Norwegian newbuilding activity while Italian ordering fell from volumes seen in recent years.
Asian Demand Still Firm?
However, one major shipowning country did see ordering volumes increase in 2015. Japanese owners signed a reported 14.1m GT of orders compared to an average 12.8m GT contracted p.a. between 2005 and 2014. The majority of this tonnage (85%) was reportedly contracted domestically. Furthermore, Chinese owners saw a relatively limited 11% decline in ordering last year compared to the 2005-14 average (12.3m GT) with 11.0m GT placed. Ordering was largely state-backed and 51% of orders in GT terms were placed at state building groups CSSC and CSIC last year. Elsewhere, the volume of contracts placed by South Korean and Singaporean owners declined by 30% and 45% respectively in 2015 compared to the average 3.3m GT and 1.7m GT contracted p.a. 2005-14.
Exceptions to the Rule
Nonetheless, although Japanese owners were relatively active last year, owners from most other major countries still saw ordering volumes decline. With reported contracting levels so weak in 2016 so far, and activity expected to remain limited, shipbuilders will be crying out for investors from more than one country to prove exceptions to the rule this year.
One day after the Earth Day celebration all over the world, Californian shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO held a christening ceremony in San Diego for Magnolia State, the second of five ECO Class 50,000dwt LNG-conversion-ready product carriers with a 330,000 barrel cargo capacity being built for American Petroleum Tankers (APT).
The 610-foot-long tankers were designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) of Busan, South Korea.
The design incorporates improved fuel efficiency concepts through several features, including a G-series MAN Diesel & Turbo ME slow-speed main engine, a ballast water treatment system and an optimized hull form.
The first tanker, Lone Star State, was delivered in December 2015 and deliveries of the remaining ships are expected to continue in 2016 and 2017.
Finland-based Meyer Turku shipyard has started the assembly of TUI Cruises ship Mein Schiff 6 with the laying of the first grandblock in the big building dock.
"After many months of planning and pre-production we are starting a very exciting period in the building of Mein Schiff 6: It will now only take 7 months until the ship is fully assembled from its grand blocks. This period in which the ship takes shape is then followed by further outfitting, commissioning and testing works," says Meyer Turku CEO Jan Meyer.
When ready in 2017, Mein Schiff 6 will measure approximately 294 meters long, have 15 decks with around 1,267 staterooms and the capacity to carry approximately 2,534 passengers. It is the final ship in the series.
Mein Schiff 6 will be the fourth high-technology cruise ship being built in Turku shipyard for TUI Cruises and the sixth ship built by the Meyer brand in total.
According to its builder, Mein Schiff 6 will feature a number of improvements in terms of energy efficiency and passenger amenities – even over its sister ships Mein Schiff 3-5, including an advanced exhaust cleaning system that uses a scrubber and catalytic converter, cutting sulphur emissions by approximately 99 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by around 75 percent.
A new hybrid ferry owned by German-Danish ferry operator Scandlines left the Danish shipyard Fayard on April 20 to start its sea trials.
The new ferry is to be named Berlin at a ceremony scheduled for May 3, 2016. Once delivered, the ferry is scheduled to be deployed on the Rostock, Germany and Gedser, Denmark ferry route.
The hybrid ferry Berlin combines traditional diesel power with battery power.
Having completed a comprehensive test program, Berlin will be tested under usual and unusual conditions, according to Scandlines. After the sea trial, the vessel is expected to arrive at its future berth in Rostock.
According to Scandlines, the vessel has a space for 460 cars or 96 lorries and is able to accommodate 1,300 passengers.
Swedish owner Ektank has inked shipbuilding contracts with CSSC Chengxi Shipyard for the construction of four 18,600dwt chemical tankers.
The order is CSSC Chengxi's first-ever chemical tanker order.
The vessels are designed by FKAB and will be classified by DBV GL. Delivery will start from the first half of 2018.
Cosco (Zhoushan) Shipyard has won an order for up to eight aframax tankers – including four options – from Greece's Aegean Shipping Management.
The 113,000 dwt ships will start delivering in 2018.
George Melissanidis, chairman of Aegean Shipping, commented, "In this time of such global uncertainty and a dormant newbuilding market, we are renewing our commitment to international shipping.”
No price was given for the vessels, although brokers assume US$50m per unit is in the right ballpark.
China's leading shipbuilder Taizhou Sanfu Ship Engineering Co., Ltd. delivered a 64,000dwt bulk carrier to Thailand-based shipowner Precious Shipping on April 21, according to a domestic shipping news report.
The vessel measures 199.9m in length overall, 32.26m in breadth moulded, and 18.5m in depth moulded, with the designed draft of 11.3m and the service speed of 14.4 knots. It is classed by ClassNK.