Stena Bulk, Concordia Maritime order up to 10 chemical parcel tankers
Jul 11, 2012 2:28 PM
Stena Bulk and Concordia Maritime confirm an order of up to 10 innovative, in-house designed chemical tankers. The ships will be built at Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI) in China with deliveries beginning from spring 2014.
When delivered, the 50,000-dwt vessels will be the most sophisticated in the Stena Bulk and Concordia Maritime fleet. The value of the order is $400 million USD if all 10 ships are declared. The main task for the new ships is to cover the increasing demand for transportation capacity within the successful Stena Weco Pool.
"To challenge today's fierce competition within the tanker segment, we must invest in the higher end of the market," says Ulf Ryder, president and CEO of Stena Bulk. "These ships will have an outstanding competitive edge both in the edible oil, chemical, and in cleantanker markets,"
Hans Norén, president of Concordia Maritime, which has taken two vessels now ordered, adds: "This is a logical step in the development of our business and fleet, to invest in vessels with very good fuel efficiency and with outstanding cargo flexibility. They will be operating in the segment where we have our main focus and where we believe there is a very good growth potential."
Flexibility is paramount to be competitive in the Chemical Tanker segment. Ships must be able to carry a wide range of cargoes in smaller parcels like the Liner Shipping Industry giving higher freight per ton. Also increasingly important in this kind of trade is to be able to quickly switch between various types and grades of cargoes.
"Our engineers have together with Guangzhou Shipyard succeeded in obtaining probably the most innovative Eco tankers existing with completely new hull lines, specially designed propellers, and many more topics which could mean a competitive advantage of some $3,000-$5000 US daily when it comes to cargo flexibility and fuel economy," Ryder says. TCP survey shows carriers expect small increases in driver wages
Results from Transport Capital Partners' (TCP) Second Quarter 2012 Business Expectations survey show that carriers anticipate driver wages to increase in the next 12 months, but only incrementally. Given the current shortage of qualified drivers and the inability to increase wages during the Great Recession, 93% of carriers are expecting higher wages, but 71% expect the increases will be under 5%.
Such small increases in driver compensation will probably only exacerbate driver turnover and not help in attracting new entrants who will stay in the industry long term. "Carriers are concerned about unseated trucks and the lack of applicants for a variety of reasons," says Lana Batts, TCP partner. "Extended long-term un-employment encourages looking for a new job only as these benefits run out. Additionally, the increase in construction is resulting in former and current drivers moving back to that industry."
While driver wages seem to be holding steady, fuel prices have decreased slightly over the last month. Carriers continue, however, to try to improve fuel economy because even the best fuel non-dedicated truckload surcharges do not cover all the fuel price increases. The most popular strategies include reducing individual speed limits, purchasing improved aerodynamics, and training drivers to improve fuel economy.
"Diesel pricing is still high, and fuel surcharges are viewed as inadequate by the industry," says TCP Partner Richard Mikes who has been following trends in the natural gas industry. "However, diesel may not be the fuel of the future as truck makers and carriers see the recently found century-plus reserves of natural gas as an opportunity."
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.