Crowley Maritime Corporation announced today that it will continue to grow its fleet of petroleum vessels and enhance service to customers by contracting with Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Inc. (APSI) to build up to eight product tankers for delivery between 2015 and the end of 2017.
Construction contracts have been signed with APSI for the first four 330,000-barrel tankers with deliveries in 2015 and 2016. Additional agreements between the two parties include options for building up to four more tankers and for expanding the cooperation initiated with Aker’s sale and delivery of two product tankers, the Florida and Pennsylvania, to Crowley in 2012 and 2013. If all options are exercised, Crowley’s industry-leading Jones Act petroleum fleet will grow to ten 330,000-barrel tankers and 17 articulated tug barges (ATBs), ranging in capacity from 155,000 to 330,000 barrels.
“Through this expansion and cooperative agreement with Aker we will be providing our customers with more options for transporting their product with greater safety and efficiency than they can get from any other U.S. service provider,” said Tom Crowley, company chairman and CEO. “We expect these new ships to be well received by longstanding customers as well as new customers, who should clearly be able to see the advantages of utilizing Crowley’s multi-dimensional fleet and operational expertise.”
The new 50,000 DWT product tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design which incorporates numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability, and the latest regulatory requirements. The vessels will be constructed with consideration for the use of LNG for propulsion in the future. HMD and APSI collaborated on the successful construction of 14 product tankers at APSI between 2007 and 2013. Design and procurement activities are already underway to support the start of construction of Crowley’s first newly-contracted tanker in January 2014.
APSI expects to invest in the partnership for the first four vessels, consistent with the requirements of the Jones Act. Crowley will maintain control over the ownership, technical operation and commercial management of the vessels. APSI and Crowley will share in the economics of the operation and chartering of the new vessels.