Offshore Turbine Market to Drive WTIV Growth

(Global) Turbine Installation Vessel Demand

Increasing demand for breakbulk transport as part of construction of offshore wind farms is set to drive growth in the number of wind turbine installation vessels (WTIV), according to research consultancy Drewry.

Cargo specialist Scorpio Bulkers (SALT) recently said it plans to construct a wind turbine installation vessel, with Drewry noting that there is a current shortage of WTIV vessels capable of installing large turbines in deep waters.

“Many shipping companies across various sectors have diversified into other sectors and industries, from investments in logistics to tech to ports and terminals. However, SALT is one of the first shippers to move into the WTIV space … As technology advances and more players step in, both the cost of vessels and the payback period will reduce,” Drewry noted.

Reduced Payback Period

The acquisition by SALT represents a bold move for the company, which has struggled with several cash flow problems in recent years. If successful, the move into larger WTIV vessel may prompt further reassessment of fleet configuration by breakbulk operators.

“The current US$220,000 pd rates may be under pressure by mid 2020s as more operators acquire larger vessels at more competitive costs … The WTIV, though risky (because of SALT’s finances), can prove to be a boon in the second half of the next decade,” Drewry said.

SALT said its first WTIV is due for delivery in 2023 with an option for up to three additional vessels.

Larger Turbine Sizes

The trend towards ever-larger turbine sizes has created demand for unique breakbulk expertise in the offshore sector, as Drewry predicts that the number of offshore turbines globally will "skyrocket" from 7,233 currently to 26,900 by 2030.

“Turbines are growing, both in size and capacity, which in turn is delivering cost improvements and efficiency for offshore wind farms. The global offshore market grew by 30 percent CAGR between 2010 and 2018, with about 150 ongoing projects as at end 2019,” a spokesperson for Drewry said.

Headquartered in London, Drewry provides maritime research consultancy, market insights and advisory services across the global shipping sector.

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