Tug owners are ordering more powerful tugs to support ultra large container ships and compete for new port support contracts
Newbuilding tug activity shows no sign of abatement in numbers being committed. Around 25 tugs of more than 20 m were contracted in January to 20 April this year. This is compared with 17 in the same period in 2017, with shipyards in India, Turkey and US dominating this year’s ordering so far.
Smaller and more traditional shipyards for this class are reaping the benefits of a sustained order boom. Contracting is dominated by necessity in a technological era where competitors at the top end of the market cannot afford to lose out on business to more advanced competitors.
A revival of ultra large container (ULC) ship ordering and deliveries is also prompting the ordering of more towage power. In the race to be top dog, orders placed this year for container ships have now surpassed a capacity figure of 24,600 TEU.
More orders are in the pipeline with at least 12 more ULCs due to firm later this year. Backed with a steady ordering of more very large crude carriers, the market needs more powerful tugs to attend demands of berthing safely.
Last year, 75 tugs over 20 m in length were confirmed as placed with shipyards. Already this year, 25 new units have been confirmed, meaning the signs look good for another record year.
More details and tables of this year's orders will be published in the upcoming issue of Tug Technology & Business