Crowley Maritime Corp. has announced plans for a major expansion of its tanker fleet, saying it has entered agreements to have Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Inc. (APSI) build up to eight product tankers for delivery between 2015 and the end of 2017.
JacksonvilleFla.-based Crowley said it had signed contracts for the first four 50,000-deadweight-ton (330,000-barrel) tankers to be delivered in 2015 and 2016 and has options for four more. APSI said the value of the order for the first four ships is about $500 million.
The shipyard said it will be a partner in the deal, making an investment of about $115 million in the first four
vessels "through a combination of existing shipyard
equity and new debt. Funding is expected to be met without any equity
capital issuance. The new debt and the construction period financing are
expected to be fully committed by the end of September."
APSI said "consistent with the requirements of the Jones Act, Crowley will maintain
control over the ownership, technical operation, and commercial
management of the vessels. APSI and Crowley will share in the economics
of the operation and chartering of the new vessels."
APSI said the two companies were not making additional comments about the details of the transaction and partnership.
These are not the first tankers Aker Philadelphia has built for Crowley. Two similar size ships - the Florida and Pennsylvania
- were delivered to Crowley in 2012 and earlier this year, They were similar in design to a dozen product tankers built for Overseas Shipholding Group and American Shipping Group, two of which were converted to shuttle tankers.
Kelly Whitaker, a spokesperson for APSI, said the new tankers are similar in many ways to those dozen earlier tankers, which used a design created by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) but not exactly the same.
"They are more cousins than sisters. The Veteran MT46 tankers built for OSG and Crowley were based on a 2004 HMD design. The MT50 tankers are based on HMD’s 2013 tanker model and incorporate a decade’s worth of design evolution to improve performance, construction efficiency, and meet the latest international regulations," she said.
If all options are exercised, Crowley’s Jones Act petroleum fleet will grow to 10 330,000-barrel tankers and 17 articulated tug barges (ATBs), ranging in capacity from 155,000 to 330,000 barrels.
"We will be providing our customers with more options for transporting their product with greater safety and efficiency than they can get from any other U.S. service provider,” said Tom Crowley, the carrier's chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. “We expect these new ships to be well received by longstanding customers as well as new customers."
The new 50,000-dwt product tankers will be constructed with consideration for the use of LNG for propulsion in the future.
"The shale revolution is creating industrial opportunities throughout the
United States and specifically here in Philadelphia. We are pleased to
expand our partnership with a first class operator like Crowley to help
meet the nation’s longstanding goal of energy security,” Kristian Rokke,
president and CEO of APSI, said. “This strategic opportunity allows
us to capitalize on the increased demand for Jones Act tankers in a way
that will transform APSI in the years ahead. Diversifying our assets
enhances Aker Philadelphia Shipyard’s resilience and creates long-term
value for both our customers and shareholders.”
Currently, APSI is building two 115,000-dwt crude oil carriers for
SeaRiver Maritime, Exxon Mobil Corp.‘s U.S. marine
affiliate. Both of these crude oil tankers are scheduled for delivery in
2014. - Chris Dupin