That 2020 was a demanding year for shipping is very clear from the layup figures. As of January 2021, there were 204 ships and rigs in layup. This exceeds the highest layup figures during the offshore crisis of 2016 – 2017. It is also worth noting that all segments state that they have ships in layup. This indicates that the downturn in 2020 impacted all segments.
When we look at the gap between the actual layup figures in January and the forecast for the end of 2020, based on the member survey conducted in January 2020, the shock that hit shipping in 2020 becomes clear. Expectations at the beginning of 2020 were that layup figures would further decline, to 14 rigs and 57 offshore service vessels. The final result for the offshore service companies was about two and a half times as high.
Offshore service shipping companies in particular report high layup figures. Fully 144 offshore service vessels are in layup, of which 100 are located in Norway and 44 abroad. This is close to the record year of 2017, when 148 offshore service vessels were in layup. These figures clearly indicate the crisis facing offshore service companies.
Rig companies have also had a significantly more demanding year than anticipated at the beginning of 2020. Rig owners entered 2020 with 17 vessels in layup, and the expectation that this number would be reduced to 14 during the year. The final result shows that another six rigs have gone into layup, with 23 rigs now laid up. This is close to the number of rigs in layup at the height of the offshore crisis in 2016 – 2017.
New to this year are both deep sea and short sea ships in layup. As of January 2021, deep sea shipowners have fully 22 vessels in layup. These ships are largely linked to the ro-ro segment. Short sea shipowners currently have 15 ships in layup. Layup figures in the short sea segment are mainly related to passenger transport.
All segments expect a significant reduction in layup figures in 2021. In total, shipping companies expect layup figures to be reduced by nearly half. In the transport segments (deep sea and short sea), there is an expectation that the end of 2021 will see a decrease from 37 vessels to three in layup, with all of the remaining vessels in the deep sea segment.
The offshore segment also has high expectations for 2021. In offshore service, it is expected that as many as 52 ships will be taken out of layup, down from 144 to 92 ships. Among the rig companies, there is an expectation that ten10 rigs will leave layup, nearly halving the number from 23 to 13 rigs in in layup.
When asked whether they have plans to recycle ships or rigs in 2021, 20 per cent of shipowners replied in the affirmative. The largest percentage of owners with recycling plans in 2021 is found among rig companies. One in three rig companies have plans to recycle rigs in 2021, for a total of eight rigs altogether.
The highest number of ships planned for recycling is found in offshore service. Here, about one in six shipping companies plan to recycle ships, giving a total of 16 ships. Four deep sea shipping companies plan to recycle a total of 12 ships. On the opposite end of the scale, only three short sea vessels are planned to be recycled in 2021, and no passenger ships.