Shipbuilders are benefiting from a bullish industry with 61 tugs ordered so far this year and more hulls being built for future sales, writes Barry Luthwaite
Confidence in future global tug demand had attracted 61 newbuilding contracts by the end of October, boosting the total orderbook to levels not seen for several years. The strength of the current global orderbook is underlined by a total of 211 towing units: tugs of more than 20 m in length that are specifically for shortsea and harbour work and not offshore-related. The majority of these were contracted within the last two-year period.
From this order backlog, 119 vessels are due for commissioning this year but there will undoubtedly be slippage of deliveries with some builders. A further 76 are due in 2018 and 16 so far in 2019.
There is little doubt that confidence and momentum is continuing globally, even if the pace of ordering has slackened somewhat in 2017. The driving force is the development of ports for accommodating much larger ships, such as 22,000 TEU container vessels, necessitating the need for more powerful tugs. More 90-tonne bollard pull, or higher, capacity tugs are being contracted, even if 80-tonne bollard pull units remain popular with owners.
Read the rest of this article and the associated newbuilding and orderbook data and analysis in the latest issue of Tug Technology & Business - out online now