Fickle future for shiprepair industry says Gibdock CEO

10 Jun 2011
The refurbished ‘Thomson Celebration’ leaving Gibdock drydock

The refurbished ‘Thomson Celebration’ leaving Gibdock drydock

Commenting on the shiprepair market as a whole, Joe Corvelli, CEO of Gibdock in Gibraltar, states that it has been fickle over the last year and the situation will remain the same for the foreseeable future.

Commenting on the shiprepair market as a whole, Joe Corvelli, CEO of Gibdock in Gibraltar, states that it has been fickle over the last year and the situation will remain the same for the foreseeable future.

He went on to say: “The harsh reality is that, as witnessed by the all time low being experienced by the Baltic Index, for example, the shipping world, and therefore the ship repair markets, are not improving as fast as we would like. We are hoping that the market has bottomed out, but it will not be possible to assess whether this is the case until we are able to look back.

“On a day to day level, we have seen the number of inquiries that do not result in jobs for the yard rising. There is no suggestion that ship owners are playing games; rather they are subject to last minute instructions from charterers.

“All that said, there are encouraging signs out there for the market as a whole and for Gibdock. For example, in 2010, we saw a clear revival in global shipbuilding, with the volume of new orders placed four times that placed in 2009. The nearly 1,600 ships ordered demonstrated that ship owners and financiers are regaining their confidence. This is comparable to the number on order in the early years of the 2003-2008 boom. The fact is that tonnage on order represents 32% of the fleet in service, and this looks promising for our future business.”

Despite these difficult times for ship repair yards, Gibdock maintains it is more than holding its own in the current market and has picked up some demanding contracts. In February, the company completed a docking of the 33,930gt Thomson Celebration for Columbia Shipmanagement. The main component of the job was the renewal of around 40 tonnes of steel on Deck 10. This was a significant project commercially for Gibdock as it was the first time it had docked a cruise ship for Columbia Shipmanagement.

The dockyard claims it is also becoming something of an offshore specialist and currently has four offshore vessels in the yard. Solstad Offshore has recently awarded some interesting repeat business while Gulmar is another offshore customer Gibdock has added to its growing client base.

Solstad returned to Gibdock for the conversion and drydocking of the 84m long, 4,500 dwt PSV Normand Vester after the conversion of the Normand Trym and Normand Vibran last year. Another Solstad ship, the 127m long 9,500 dwt offshore construction vessel Normand Cutter, also docked at Gibdock in April this year.

To comply with ISPS requirements, Gibdock recently invested in a new security infrastructure to improve access control at the yard. From now on all visitors and staff will have to use an identity card that can be electronically swiped at the gatehouse and other buildings throughout the yard.

Efforts also continue to refine production methods and investments in the yard have included new workshop roofing, new crane rails for Drydocks 2 and 3, the overhaul of one of the yard’s main pumps, major investments in wet blasting and a completely reorganized stores operation. Currently, the yard is concentrating on drydock operations, where blocks are being renewed and the performance of flooding valves under review.

Recently Gibdock named J.I.T Srl, of Naples, as its agent for Italy. This is the first time that the yard has been represented in that country and is an important step forward as Gibdock seeks out new markets in the Mediterranean.

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