There is something for everyone in this edition of MarineNews. That’s because there is no end to the breadth of new and versatile equipment hitting today’s marine markets. Before you get to the fun stuff, however, you have deal with the reality of a regulatory climate that threatens to pervade every aspect of your operations and your bottom line, too. I don’t like it any more than you do. Add to that the 600-pound gorilla represented by the federal budget wars and the S-word (sequestration) and there is enough uncertainty out there to give even the most mild-mannered maritime executive a first class heartburn. You’ve got questions. Naturally, we’ve got answers.
As a one-two punch, this month we addressed the regulatory issue(s) head on by first taking the temperature of the Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, Rear Admiral Joseph A. Servidio. His unvarnished opinions will, perhaps, give you a better sense of where things are headed, why and what to expect when we get there. Beyond this, there’s a new kid in town on the subchapter M front – and it isn’t who you thought was coming next. ClassNK, already the largest classification society on the planet, arrives with deep roots in the bulk trades, inland classification experience and newly acquired North American roots. What they have to say about the coming subchapter M rules might surprise you. And, then, it could solve your problems.
While inland operators wrestle with the coming sub M quandary, domestic shipyards – particularly those second tier yards catering largely to military and government contracts – have their own headaches. The good news is that the vast majority of these builders are riding a robust wave of steady work, with healthy backlogs extending into the foreseeable future. U.S. yards are leveraging that work, diversifying into other areas and planning for the very real possibility that some of those government contracts won’t be nearly as fat as they had once hoped. Inside, Susan Buchanan takes an in-depth look at the players and the strategies designed to prolong one of the better shipbuilding runs this market has seen in recent memory. The news is better than you might think.
Finally and tasked with highlighting a European regional focus along with covering high speed propulsion, I took the easy way out by tackling two Norwegian-built vessels and the water jet propulsion that makes them so special. For those accustomed to seeing the U.S. workboat and offshore markets influenced by all things “Norway,” this story is a fair bit of turnabout. That’s because Workboats – all kinds, shapes and sizes – are multi-mission platforms. In this case, though, it is American-built technology that crosses the big pond, in the other direction. This and other equipment advances (also discussed within) will measurably increase your bottom line, green up your environmental footprint and increase the efficiencies of your operations. First, you need to figure out that regulatory minefield. That said; I have no doubt that we’ll all get there together.
(As published in the May 2013 edition of Marine News - www.marinelink.com)