JANUARY 24, 2014 — A new report sees newbuilding demand for cruise ships reaching the equivalent of a total of 161 vessels of an average 2,500-berth capacity between 2014 and 2025. The report comes from U.K,-based market consultants Ocean Shipping Consultants (OSC).
OSC says that "in spite of some challenges facing the cruise industry in the past two to three years," the sector is "enjoying rapid growth that is seeing dramatic changes shaping the profile of the industry. Global demand for cruise is expected to grow strongly, new cruise terminals are being developed, and cruise lines are introducing significant changes to the deployment of their capacity."
According to OSC, anticipated cruise passenger number growth worldwide is expected to grow 68% from an estimated 21.7 million last year to 36.4 million by 2025.
OSC says this demand total translates to approximately 11-16 vessels of around 2,500 berth capacity each year to 2025.
In addition to newbuilding requirements funded by passenger volume growth, says OSC, the current sea-going cruise fleet has an average age of 20 years, with 47 vessels being more than 40 years old. This presents a potentially significant source of demand for vessel replacement or repair in the coming years.
With changing patterns of vessel deployment, the significance of the world's main cruise ship repair yards is also changing, and set for further development through the next decade. For example, the capacity deployed in Asia Pacific by major lines increased more than fivefold over 2003-13, in comparison to just 36% expansion in the Caribbean.
Another development that is expected to spur ship upgrading work is new emission controls. Following the revised MARPOL regulations in 2010, all cruise ships berthing at or sailing in European and U.S. coastal waters will have to comply with emission control area (ECA) limits. This can be achieved through the installation of various scrubber systems at either the newbuilding stage or as a retrofit. The implication is for more work for suitable (in terms of expertise and location) ship repair yards.