UK shortsea carrier Scotline announced on 1 February the signing of a newbuilding contract for one general cargo ship plus one option at Dutch shipyard Royal Bodewes.
The order for a 4,785 dwt vessel, to be named Scot Carrier, plus an option for an identical sister follows on from last year’s comissioning of a similar ship by Scotline (Scot Navigator) also delivered by Royal Bowedes. Delivery of Scot Carrier with a length of close to 90 m and a beam of 15.2 m is scheduled for November this year.
Operated under the British flag and classed by Lloyd’s Register, the ship will enter Scotline’s core services between Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea region, UK, and Ireland, focusing on forest products as base cargoes and operated with its fleet of eight owned ships. The new investment is part of the company‘s fleet renewal programme, Scotline said in a statement on 1 February.
Scot Carrier will have some new features including bulk heads, container fittings, and lashing points for project cargo on the tank top, in what Scotline’s commercial manager Jon Millatt described as "ticking as many boxes as possible in the design process“ to increase the ship’s flexibility and resale value. A case in point is Scotline’s enhanced capability to cater for market grain cargoes as additional spot business thanks to bulk heads. "We want the ships to be as versatile as possible, so we can move with the market, which will change during the lifetime of the ship,” he said.
Spot earnings in the European shortsea market kept climbing last year, with average net freight rates for business within the North European Sulphur Emissions Control Area rising from EUR8.5 (USD10.13) per tonne in August to almost EUR20 per tonne in November, according to German shortsea broker Arkon Shipping.
Rates eased off at the start of this year although they remain higher than this time during previous years, with underlying demand and sentiment pointing to a relatively strong market throughout the first quarter, Arkon said in a market update on 1 February.