TREES AND SHIPS GROW
Philly Shipyard’s ship construction backlog stretches until 2019
nce proud names such as Todd, Bethlehem Steel and Sun Shipbuilding dominated the shipbuilding landscape on the U.S. East Coast for years, building a wide variety of commercial and government ships. Those names, of course, have all receded into history. While defense contractors General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, ME, Electric Boat, Groton, CT, and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, VA, all remain, along with a number of ship repair yards, the one true remaining commercial shipbuilder of large oceangoing ships on the U.S. East Coast is Philly Shipyard, Inc. A wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of Philly Shipyard ASA—which is listed on the Oslo exchange as PHLY—held a keel laying ceremony for the third 50,000 dwt product tanker in a four-ship order for American Petroleum Tankers (APT), a Kinder Morgan, Inc. subsidiary. Besides the four 50,000 dwt, LNG Ready product tankers for APT, Philly Shipyard also has orders for two dual fuel 3,600-TEU containerships for Matson Navigation. The current contracts and construction activity will keep Philly Shipyard’s 1,200 strong workforce busy until early 2019. Marine Log sources also indicate that Philly Shipyard is one of two shipbuilders shortlisted—the other being Keppel AMFELS in Brownsville, TX—in the bidding to construct two 3,400-TEU dual fuel containerships for Pasha Hawaii. According to an announcement by Honolulu-based Pasha, the contract specifications are expected to be finalized by the end of the month, with the final selection decision anticipated in January 2017. Pasha says each ship will have a capacity of 3,400 TEU, including 500 45-foot containers and 400 refrigerated containers, and a sailing speed of 23 knots. Delivery of the first vessel is expected mid-2019, w ith deliver y of the second vessel to come in early 2020. The contract might also contain options for
two more containerships. A spokesperson for Pasha Hawaii said the company’s “Non-Disclosure Agreements do not allow us to identify the shipyards at this time.” During a recent visit to the shipyard, Marine Log had an opportunity to go onboard the M/V American Endurance, the first of the 600-foot-long APT product tankers, which will be capable of carrying crude oil or refined petroleum products. The product tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design which incorporates numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability and the latest regulatory requirements. Overall, Philly Shipyard has delivered 24 ships in its 17-year history. While talented labor plays a central role in the shipyard’s efficiency, so, too, does technology. While touring the facility, Marine Log got a first hand look at the shipyard’s micro panel line that was built by welding automation specialist Pemamek Oy and commissioned back in early 2013. The micro panel line uses high-tech Lincoln Electric Power Wave welding power sources and is based on Pemamek’s patented Vision programming system, in this case equipped with two Motoman robots. The line is equipped also with a special welding floor type conveyor solution to make working on the line safer and transport welded web plates smoothly.
a National Apprenticeship Week event to showcase its widely respected Registered Apprenticeship program. In coordination with the Philadelphia School District, the shipyard invited 30 students from four area schools to its newly developed Training Academy, where current Philly Shipyard apprentices receive welding training. The company opened the academy in May 2016 to provide a dedicated facility offering customized training for all production personnel. The visiting students shadowed current apprentices in the new academy, met with former apprentices, and then participated in a tour of the larger shipyard facility. “Philly Shipyard’s apprentice program is a necessity for our business to build and sustain a long-term workforce,” said Jim Clark, the Training Manager, who organized the second annual event. “Since its inception, the company has graduated 106 apprentices who have developed into the next generation of skilled shipbuilders. There are another 75 active apprentices. The students visiting today have an opportunity to witness firsthand the value of joining an apprenticeship program to learn the skills and academics necessary for a successful career in manufacturing. It is an opportunity like no other.”
Apprenticeship Program To develop its own skilled workers, Philly Shipyard initiated a three-year apprenticeship program in 2004. The recent graduation class added 15 skilled shipbuilders to the workforce, bringing the shipyard’s apprentices to 23% of its current workforce. Since the program’s inception, 21 apprentices have moved into management positions and many have obtained additional manufacturing qualifications. The shipyard expanded the program this year and has hired 50 apprentices with intent to hire another 50 apprentices in 2017. Just last month, Philly Shipyard hosted December 2016 // Marine Log 25