Early this year, shipyards across the U.S. reported that demand for newbuilds was beginning to pick up, a good sign for diesel engine manufacturers.
Yards such as Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corp., Salisbury, Md., All American Marine, Bellingham, Wash., and Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, Fla., were expecting a decent year. Chesapeake has orders well into 2012, All American is busy with several projects, and Eastern has a variety of vessels underway or on order for a diverse client list. More boats means more marine engines.
Boysie Bollinger has long preached that diversification is the key to survival in the shipyard industry. His Bollinger Shipyards Inc. is located in Lockport, La., in the heart of the oil service industry serving the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Prior to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, the offshore service vessel industry in the U.S. Gulf was poised for a recovery, but the moratorium on deepwater drilling has thrown a wrench into the OSV market’s rebound.
That doesn’t mean Bollinger has no work. The yard is busy building three 154′ Sentinel-class patrol boats for the U.S. Coast Guard and a series of 10,800-hp oceangoing tugs for Crowley Maritime Corp., Jacksonville, Fla. But Gulf yards that rely mainly on the construction and repair of OSVs are looking at several quarters of weak demand.
Shipyard owners have more access to money, which is helping boost activity at many yards, said Robert Wiklund, business development manager for Caterpillar Financial Services’ Global Power Finance Division-Americas. “It’s not what it was two years ago, but there is definite improvement,” he said earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Cummins Inc. announced in July that it is expanding its high-horsepower engine product line at its Seymore, Ind., facility, which is now called the Seymore Engine Plant.
Photos courtesy of MTU