Jack Frost bites Aker Philly

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard is firing on all cylinders following an avalanche of newbuilding orders but a recent series of powerful snowstorms has proven problematic for one of its projects.
Kristian Rokke: Making his name with Aker Philadelphia.

Aker Philadelphia is led by Kristian Rokke.

In the US shipbuilder’s fourth-quarter earnings report it noted an “abnormally harsh” winter made it challenging to complete the first of two aframax tankers for SeaRiver Maritime.

The company said construction costs were “slightly higher” than originally expected as a result but claims the profit margin tied to the project is “still in line” with previous guidance.

Aker indicated that the 115,000-dwt tankers ordered by ExxonMobil’s shipping offshoot in 2011 are approximately 71% complete and still scheduled for delivery later this year.

Going forward the company, which is also sitting on orders for four Crowley Maritime product tankers and a pair of Matson containerships that will keep it busy through 2018, said it is actively looking for new contracts in all areas of the Jones Act market.

Aker, which is one of two US yards actively involved in the construction of tankers, noted the list of targets includes boxships, shuttle tankers, short-sea shipping vessels, offshore-support vessels barges, windfarm installation vessels and other large steel fabrication projects.

It also pointed out that LNG propulsion “continues to be a consideration for potential owners” and mentioned it hopes to leverage its experience from the design of Matson’s containerships, which carry a collective price tag of more than $400m.

While the US operator plans to equip the vessels with dual-fuel engines Aker failed to mention that the Jones Act carrier has not yet decided whether it will outfit the duo with the other components of an LNG power system due to concerns about the eligibility of LNG fuel.

Aker’s market commentary came as the company reported net income of $0.5m for the three months to 31 December 2013, which was slightly lower than the $1.3m gain posted a year ago despite a spike in revenue, which rose to $51.3m from $26.9m year-on-year.

The company did not offer an update about an electrical explosion that caused what is believed to be only minor damage to its Goliath gantry crane or weigh in on speculation that an electrician who suffered burns as a result of the blast may pursue a lawsuit against the yard.

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Aker Philadelphia Shipyard is led by CEO Kristian Rokke...

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