Thursday, 30 July 2009

Industry Snapshots

Green cars from green factory on green ship: The ‘Auriga Leader’ has made its maiden voyage from Kobe, Japan to California’s Port of Long Beach; the car carrier carried a consignment of Prius, the premium Toyota hybrid cars. The car carrier was launched last December and is the first large ship in the world to partly use solar energy for power. Researched jointly by Nippon Yusen and Nippon Oil, the Leader has 328 solar panels that produce 40 kilowatts of power. Although this is less than half percent of her energy requirements for propulsion and about 7% of her auxillary needs, it is a huge first step for the industry, as the Leader is a large ship with a 6400 car capacity. The solar panels cost $1.68 million to develop and install. The Prius cars the ship will carry on her regular run to the US are green and have solar rooftop panels. Not just that, they are produced in a solar powered factory in Tsutsumi, Japan.

Larsen & Toubro enters shipyard and port development. A report in the Business Line says that a joint venture will see a 300,000 dwt capacity shipyard and integrated port facility developed by L&T in Tamil Nadu in cooperation with the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation. Another JV with Tata Steel plans to set up a Rs 24.6 billion all weather port in Orissa, and will be on the ‘build, own, operate, share and transfer’ model.

Cruise Control: The cruise industry is going ahead with plans to launch new ships despite the recession, media reports say. With 13 million customers last year, the maritime leisure companies think that additional capacity now in the pipeline will be absorbed quite easily; presently approximately 200 of these passenger ships worldwide carry about 200,000 passengers. The biggest of the new ships is Royal Caribbean's ‘Oasis of the Seas’, which will carry a mind boggling 5,400 passengers and will be 40 percent bigger than her nearest rival. It will have several unusual features, including “neighbourhoods” and an aqua theatre for swimming and diving performances. Carnival Cruise Lines’ “Carnival Dream”, to be launched this year, will have a nine deck high atrium and an aquatic theme park. Celebrity Cruises ‘Celebrity Solstice’, Holland America’s “The Retreat” and Norwegian Cruise Lines’ “The Epic” are some other cruise ships that promise extraordinary themed experiences soon. In addition, in a first, youngsters as young as three are being targeted as potential customers, with yoga programmes for kids, games and other fun activities on offer.

Dolphin’s Jafrabad shipyard seeks partner for its 400 crore Gujarat project. Spread over 100 hectares, the shipyard will concentrate on building vessels for the offshore industry, including MPV’s, AHTS and supply vessels. Joint MD Satpal Singh says that surveys and clearance applications are complete and that the Gujarat Maritime board should give Dolphin possession of land soon. The project will take six years to complete. The first phase will see a slipway, machinery shops, offices and a fabrication yard being constructed, at a cost of 70 crores.

Drewry says officer shortfall to hit 83,900 by 2012 unless steps taken. Present shortfall, according to the well known shipping consultants, is at around 34,000. Drewry says that India could get a larger chunk of the share of this provided it sorted out some problems that plague the industry. Analysts say that delay in getting CDCs issued by the Directorate General of Shipping (DG Shipping) and the quality of available seafarers are two big problems at present; it takes at least six months to get a CDC presently, and many point to the centralisation of the process at Mumbai as the reason this is so slow. They point out, additionally, that quality of training needs to improve and the government needs to actively support maritime education in the country.

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