Norwegian shipyards are over the worst of the international finance crisis. A total of 20 new ships valued at approximately NOK 10 billion (USD 1.6 billion) have been ordered so far this year, more than the sum of all orders from 2008 and 2009.
During 2008, the Norwegian yards booked orders for 26 ships with a total value of NOK 6.2 billion, and in 2009 there were 17 ships ordered costing NOK 3.1 billion, reports newspaper Aftenposten. The global finance crisis hit shipbuilders and their suppliers hard, and predictions for the industry’s future were bleak.
Now, however, the gloom has lifted and optimism has returned. Shipyards have been filling up their orderbooks and think the current surge will last.
“People are much more optimistic now than six months ago,” says Birger Skår with the Norwegian shipbuilders marketing organization. “I know that more orders are in the pipeline. Several shipowners are negotiating with Norwegian shipyards.”
Egil Holland, head of the maritime division of Norsk Industri, the confederation of Norwegian industry, is not quite ready to give the shipbuilders a clean bill of health. The 20 ships and NOK 10 billion account for about half of what the industry needs to maintain its reserves, he told Aftenposten.
He points out that there is spare capacity in Norwegian yards because the ship hulls are built abroad. “For companies which produce equipment for fitting out ships, orders from shipowners are a good thing whether the hulls come from abroad or are built in Norway,” Holland told Aftenposten.
Norway has around 25 shipyards. Some 85 per cent of ships contracted by Norwegian shipowners are built in western Norway.
The greater part of Norwegian shipyard capacity builds ships for the offshore oil and gas industry. Each job in the shipyards is thought to generate two to three other jobs.