Demand for high spec AHTS could increase says Clarkson ResearchNews // October 31, 2014
Clarkson Research Services Limited says it believes that, despite the boom in orders for anchor handlers in the last decade, the supply/demand equation could tilt in favour once again of owners of high spec vessels.
As Clarkson Research noted in the foreword to its recently published 2014 anchor-handling tug/supply (AHTS) vessel register, the contracting boom of 2006–2007 generated a large pool of modern tonnage, but newbuilding contract volumes have fallen in each of the past five years, and the orderbook (at 175 vessels) is at its lowest level since 2005.
Clarkson Research said vessel supply has been an issue in the charter market, but the reduced pace of newbuilding deliveries and growing worldwide employment opportunities for vessels mean that the fundamentals now appear more encouraging.
"There is an increased focus for newer, larger and more technologically advanced vessels. New designs also stress efficiency and address environmental regulations," said Clarkson Research.
Peak AHTS deliveries saw 282 AHTS vessels entering the market in 2009 and 271 in 2010. Since then, ordering and deliveries have fallen away annually, and since 2011, ordering levels could be said to be back to pre-boom levels. The 82 newbuilding orders recorded in 2013 was the lowest annual total since 2003. The orderbook, which peaked at 763 vessels in February 2009, has steadily been eroded and now stands at 175 units, its lowest level since 2005.
"In the last 12 months," said the broker, "just 54 AHTS newbuilding contracts have been recorded, and of these, just 10 have been for units in excess of 12,000 bhp.
“This has left the delivery schedule for high end AHTS units beyond the end of 2014 looking a little limited,” said Clarkson Research.
As reported recently in Offshore Shipping Online, October saw Maersk Supply Service announce orders for a number of high spec anchor handlers. Maersk Supply Service signed a newbuilding contract with Kleven Maritime for six anchor handling tug supply vessels with options for four additional vessels.