You don’t have to look very hard to find bad news emanating from the energy sector, where oil and gas and offshore service companies have been suffering for well over a year now.
Our November issue that is due out later this month is chock full of dreary reports from this beaten-down sector. Our cover story is all about Shell’s Arctic adventure that finally ended with the company announcing last month that it was suspending operations in the region. Shell’s pullout will affect shipyard Vigor Industrial and other workboat-related businesses. Boat operators such as Harvey Gulf, Edison Chouest, Foss and Crowley have several vessels under contract to Shell to support its Arctic operations.
But as I’ve written before, the workboat market is more than just oil and gas, and several other sectors are doing OK. Passenger vessel operators just completed a great summer season, many tug and barge operators continue to post good results, and shipyards that don’t rely on the energy sector are busy. For example, in the next issue we talk about Norfolk, Va.-area repair yards, which are expanding and updating facilities to meet increasing demand for their services. One of those yards, Colonna Shipyard, has a nice mix of commercial and government work and is ready to break ground on a $30 million expansion project that will include a 12,000-ton drydock.
For us at WorkBoat, we see the diversity and resiliency of the workboat market through demand for our upcoming shows. We again anticipate a strong turnout at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle in November and the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans in December.
I expect both shows will prove just how strong and resilient the workboat industry is.