16 April 2021

Dredging Fleet Investment

The marine aggregate dredging fleet was not exempt from the impact of Covid19 in 2020. We take a look at the impact and recovery.

The marine aggregate dredging fleet was not exempt from the impact of Covid19 in 2020. At the peak of the initial lockdown around 40% of the dredging fleet were laid up alongside through lack of demand, some vessels for a number of weeks. Recovery was relatively quick however, as demand in the construction sector improved strongly through the early summer and continued to show resilience in the second half of the year.

Despite COVID19 concerns, the industry is investing in new dredgers, to replace older vessels in the existing fleet. Additional capacity is also being brought on line through ships constructed by companies that are new to dredging in UK waters in order to provide charter capacity to The Crown Estate’ customers where they need additional  dredging capacity. We’ve listed some examples below:

  • The mid-sized (3,500m³) dredger “Go Innovation” (CEMEX UK Marine Limited) has been commissioned. Challenges related to availability of commissioning engineers during the peak of Covid19 have delayed the vessel entering service but she should be operating in UK waters in the very near future.
  • Hanson Aggregates Marine Ltd (HAML) have taken the decision to scrap one of their smaller, older dredgers, the “Arco Dart”. The ship is currently being dismantled in Belgium. However, HAML has ordered a new vessel of a similar design and size to the Go Innovation. It is anticipated that the “Hanson Thames” will enter service later in 2021.
  • Netherlands based De Hoop Group have commissioned their new dredger, called “Anchorage”. The ship is already operational, and it is planned that this medium sized dredger will be able to access a new licence area being developed in the East English Channel by their UK subsidiary, Sea Aggregates Ltd.
  • Whilst not a current licence holder, long time consumer of UK marine aggregates, Spaansen Group has converted a bulk carrier into an aggregate dredger. The “Yed Prior” has already entered service and may be able to access UK materials via existing licence holders in the future.

The programme of replacing the existing fleet and adding additional capacity and flexibility as market demands change is continuing, with a number of companies considering investment in new ships. Exciting times lay ahead.

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