Boxship Business Booming
At press time, the latest news on the anticipated order for four 6,300-TEU containerships from P&O Containers — an order expected during the latter part of 1995 — is that Japan's IHI has emerged as the favorite. However, although South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Daewoo Heavy In- dustries (DHI) are also heavily involved in negotiations. Also at the containership news forefront, Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has been busy over the past few weeks with orders for a series of ten 4,173-TEU boxships from Taiwan's Evergreen Corp., two 4,369-TEU ships from Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) and two 4,900-TEU vessels from Orient Overseas Lines (OOCL). NOL has also placed an order for four similar-size vessels with SHI. In addition, SHI has received an order for seven boxships (2,700-TEU capacity) from China's COSCO. Taiwan's China Ship Building Corp. (CSBC) has also been active in the domestic containership market with an order from Cheng Lie Navigation for a series of five 1,140- TEU vessels.
Following a number of orders placed with the Polish shipbuilding industry, France's Louis- Dreyfus has ordered two 42,000-dwt geared bulk carriers from IHI's Tokyo shipyard. The contract price is believed to be approximately $48 million for the two ships, which will be the first of IHI's "Future-42" designs. Some Japanese owners are also reportedly interested in this type of ship.
Japan's Hitachi Zosen has won a contract from Norway's Tentech to build the hull of what will reportedly be the world's largest ever Floating Production Storage and Offloading Terminal (FPSO). The vessel will have a crude oil processing capacity of 200,000 bpd, a crude storage capacity of 900,000 bbls and a gas handling capacity of over 15 mcm/d. The unit will operate on Statoil's Asgard Field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The consortium which won the contract from Statoil consists of ABB, Aker and Maritime Tentech. When the hull is completed in Japan, it will be towed to Aker's yard at Stord, Norway, for completion prior to hook-up. Hitachi Zosen won the order in close competition with Singapore's Far East Levingston Shipbuilding (FELS).
FELS is also currently completing a floating production ship, which was originally ordered from the yard by Norway's Peder Smedvig during December (the ship was sold prior to delivery to Esso Norway). Peder Smedvig's order was purely speculative, and the price paid by Esso Norway is reported to be in the $240 million region.
It is also reported that Daewoo has signed a letter of intent with U.S. oil major Chevron for a number of offshore platforms to be employed off the Angolan coast in West Africa. The deal is estimated to be worth $180 million.
Another South Korean shipbuilding yard active in the market over recent weeks has been Halla Engineering & Heavy Industries (HEHI). A letter of intent has been signed with Paul Slater's First International for two 140,000-dwt suezmax tankers, vessels which will then be bareboated out to independent owners, believed to be Greek-based. HEHI recently announced the eventual closure of its Inchon shipyard, once the new Sambo Shipyard at Mokpo becomes fully operational in late 1996. One Far East passenger ship operator, Singapore's Star Cruises, is expanding operations by placing a $70 million, two-ship order with Germany's Meyer Werft. Star Cruises has previously built up its fleet using existing tonnage, this order being the first foray into the newbuilding market. The 75,000-grt vessels, due for delivery during 1998-99, will be utilized in cruising operations in South East Asia and North Asia. Each vessel will have a 2,000-passenger capacity in 1,000 cabins with approximately 800 crew. The main engine output will be 50,400 kW and will give the ships a service speed of 24 knots. The ships will be called SuperStar Leo and SuperStar Virgo.
Another owner of passenger-oriented tonnage is mainland China-based. During September 1993, an order was placed by the Chinese state export company, China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation (Machimpex), with Germany's MTW Schiffswerft GmbH, Wismar to build two combined passenger-container- vessels (PCV 400). The first of these vessels, Zi Yu Lan, has now been delivered, the vessel is to be operated by Shanghai Shipping (Group) Co.
The ships will be utilized between various mainland Chinese ports, specifically targeting ones with more than one million inhabitants, located on rivers with depths suitable for seagoing ships and in areas with brisk trade activities such as South East Asia, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan. The ships are designed to improve the transportation infrastructure in these regions, complementing the Chinese airways network and the country's continually improving road system.
Another candidate to add to the growing list of Singapore's FPSO projects is the four/five month life extension of the FSU Erawan, which is based on the Erawan Field off Thailand. The work is to begin this April. The design and contracting work for this project is being handled by U.K.-based Wavespec. Intec, Kuala Lumpur, is the main contractor, with Wavespec handling the design and contracting. The offshore field is operated by Unocal (Thailand), part of Californiabased Unocal. No yard has yet been designated for the work, but the various Singapore yards are reportedly leading the bidding. Wavespec has also won the contract to handle the contract negotiation, plan approval, newbuiding superintendency and commissioning of the two 300,000-dwt crude carriers on order at Japan's MHI, Nagasaki, for Canada's Irving Oil. Singapore's Sembawang Shipyard has reportedly broken records in January for its performance in the cruise refit market. During January, a total of four cruise ships will be repaired — Star Cruises' 40,053-grt Star Pisces and her sistership Star Aquarius, V Ship's 16,927-grt Bahamas-registered Silver Cloud and the 9,520-grt Panamanian-registered Coral Princess, which is managed in Singapore by Sembawang Johnson.
Following Keppel's success in developing overseas joint ventures and purchases, another of Singapore's large ship repair companies, Sembawang, has made an overseas move. During mid- December, Sembawang Shipyard Ltd., a division of Sembawang Corporation, and China Offshore Oil Bohai Corporation of China have signed a joint venture agreement to operate a ship repair yard in northern China. The new shipyard, which is to be named Bohai Sembawang Shipyard (Tianjin) Co. Ltd. (BSSC), will be 50 percent owned by both companies. The yard currently operates one graving dock for vessels up to 20,000- dwt and repair quays, totaling 2,624.6 ft. (800 m).
Occupying a total area of 73,000- sq.-m of land, plans are underway for additional upgrading and modernization, including a 10,000-dwt floating dock, the lengthening and upgrading of the existing graving dock to accommodate vessels up to 70,000-dwt, the extension of existing berths and the installation of additional cranage, equipment and other repair services.
Meanwhile, a memorandum of understanding has been signed between Aluminum Craft Ltd., a subsidiary of Singapore's Singmarine Industries Ltd., part of the Keppel Group, and Mofaz Marine to set up a shipyard in Malaysia. Across the Jahore Causeway, Malaysia's PSC Industries is to buy the naval dockyard at Lummut on the Malacca Strait for $118 million. PSC, whose subsidiary Penang Shipbuilding Corp.
has a 40 percent stake in a fivemember consortium buying the dockyard, will invest $47.2 million, a senior official said. Persima Industries, a subsidiary of Merusahaan Timah, holds a 30 percent share in the venture and will pay $35.1 million. Malaysia's National Armed Forces Fund Board owns 15 percent of the yard with Syarikat Permodalan Perak, a state development firm, holding seven percent. The remaining eight percent is held by the private company Suria Barisan.
In Thailand, Bangkok's Unithai Shipyard, part of the IMC Group, is to expand its facilities to enable repairs to ships up to 40,000-dwt to be repaired in the facility. The first stage of the yard's development was ideal to cater for IMC's fleet of ships, but the second stage, worth some $12 million, will move the yard into the international market. Babtie Oakavee Ltd. and Peter Fraenkel BMT (Asia) Ltd., both based in Hong Kong, have merged to form Babtie BMT (Hong Kong) Ltd. to cover the Hong Kong and mainland China areas. The new company will be headed by Peter French, currently chairman of Peter Fraenkel BMT (Asia), and managing directors will be Ross Bar and Henry Leung, currently managing director of Oakervee and Peter Fraenkel BMT (Asia), respectively.