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Reasons to be cheerful on newbuilds and refurbs

Reasons to be cheerful on newbuilds and refurbs
'Positively cheerful' is how Paivi Haikkola, head of research & development, Deltamarin Ltd, describes her mood for the shipbuilding and refurbishment market.

Speaking at Seatrade Europe in a session on 'Design and Direction' for this sector, Haikkola said the average 5% annual rise in new berth capacity plotted by her company five years ago for 2013 to 2017 in reality is likely to be around 4% on average 'but it is stlll growth,' she added.

Looking at refurbishments, Haikkola said the value of this sector each year is equalling that of the newbuild market as lines continue the trend of major makeovers every three to five years in a ship's lifecycle. She also singled out the river cruise sector as another reason to be cheerful, noting the high volume of newbuilds, 'even if half are being driven by one company,' referencing Viking River Cruises.

Turning to a project which Deltamarin and fellow panelist Frederik Johansson of Tillberg Design are both working on, Haikkola presented an insight into Titanic II.

Deltamarin's website includes an area where visitors can ask questions about it and she said this is generating tremendous interest. 'The project is still at a conceptional stage but it is fun working on a project that evokes so much emotion,' Haikkola remarked.

The owner, Blue Star Line, has signed a letter of intent with a Chinese yard and many are questioning whether the vessel will be built there—which remains to be seen, said Haikkola—but she pointed out from Deltamarin's experience in designing cargo vessels ordered in China that the owner takes a lot more responsibility in the design phase, planning and testing before the ships are constructed.

Remarking on newbuild designs for the future, Christian Schonrock, director of newbuilding for AIDA Cruises, said the industry has come through a period of new cruise ships looking very similar in size and shape but there will start to be different size vessels with different ideas for different markets.

'Ultimately, whatever the designs, safety is first and foremost or we have no future at all,' he added.