Shipyards across Europe, Med and the Black Sea are expected to be fully booked during 2023, as a multitude of projects, many of which will be environmental retrofits, are expected to take place. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal said that “while observing the ship repair market very close to the end of the year, we are confident that shipyards worldwide are entering a new era. The next year, 2023, is going to come with the pandemic being almost completely out of the picture. The effect of inflation on ship repair costs will start being harmonized and balanced after major corrections are made in all aspects throughout the year passed. The altered shipping routes and consequently the increased demand for ship repair facilities in some areas like Europe will finally find the yards ready for more projects. It is obvious that the mentality toward Green Technology adaptation is more mature than ever before. We are expecting more projects and trends implementing environmentally friendly solutions and technology. And finally, the ballast water management system retrofit era is coming to an end, after more than a decade of discussions. But let us elaborate on some of the above to a bigger extent”.
According to the Interyards Division of Intermodal and Mr. Vassilis Vassiliou, “closing this year, we noticed all respective costs related to materials procurement like steel, copper, and energy consuming works like grid and hydro blasting to be highly inflated. As a result, there was a big disruption in many big-scale projects on which basic cost derives from this kind of work and on projects prices of which were agreed a long time before. Historically, the shipyard’s position during a heavily inflated market was always challenging. Shipyard on the one side has to manage the continuously increasing cost from the supplier’s side and on the other hand to manage the expectation of the Shipping Companies for stable fixed prices with contracts agreed much ahead of vessel’s arrival to the yard”.
Mr. Vassiliou added that “moving to the next topic, nowadays, apart from the ongoing environmental regulatory framework, there is an increased tendency shipyards worldwide to adapt more environmentally friendly procedures and methods regarding the disposal of used / hazardous materials and ship repair techniques. Widely known is the complete transformation some yards have penciled from grid-blasting to hydro or slurry blasting for controlling or eliminating the grid dust. The result of the yards implementing green solutions is repair cost and time increment. Unfair competition is obviously a common result between those greener shipyards with those able to maintain old regime methods”.
“Another environmental trend reviving is the scrubber retrofit. There are already some orders in place for more scrubber retrofits, after a totally slack year on scrubbers. As we have seen in the past, the interest could escalate fast creating a second wave for scrubber retrofits. It only takes a few major shipping companies to declare supporters of such retrofits. On the other hand, shipyards and scrubber makers are now ready to absorb a sudden demand and therefore we do not expect similar to the past shipyard’s clogging”.
With regards to shipyards’ workload for the next year to come, we expect all yards in Europe, Med, and the Black Sea to remain ultra-busy. Yards in the area will try to control their costs and profit margin by being selective on the awarded projects.
This will be a good opportunity for new entries to try to be established and share a bigger portion of the repair business. Moving toward the Far East, some first-class shipyards will start getting busy again with specialized projects since offshore business is back in action. China is planning a long time now to fully re-open. We expect that to be materialized soon after CNY”, Interyards’ analyst said.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide