Shipyards enjoying good health

We just spent the last several weeks putting together WorkBoat’s annual Construction Survey, covering newbuild activity in U.S. shipyards over the past 12 months (March 2012 through Feb. 2013).

What we found was an industry on the rise. Surely, the robust recovery of the oil and gas activity in the Gulf of Mexico is a huge part of the equation for Gulf yards that build OSVs, but shipyards across the nation are also seeing their order books thicken and backlogs grow.

A year ago the total number of vessels under contract, under construction, or recently delivered came in at 564. This year saw an increase of about 18 percent to more than 660.

Now it must be noted that we are aware that the actual number is greater than our final count, but for a number of reasons some operators do not want their boats included in the survey, and some yards request that some contracts be listed, while others not be included.

We are aware of several of those contracts but respectfully honor their wishes. We’d like to include them, but we don’t.

I believe that the numbers and how they break down among the 15 vessel categories are an accurate representation of trends within the shipyard industry.

Simply put, the news is good and that’s an understatement.

But you can judge for yourself when the survey is published in the March issue of WorkBoat, due out late this month.

In closing, here’s a hint about next year’s survey, the numbers are going to be higher. As a bookie I knew many years ago would say, “That’s chark.”


About the author

Ken Hocke

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.

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