Alaska Class Ferry Sept 22, 2011 22:59:55 GMT -8
Post by timo on Sept 22, 2011 22:59:55 GMT -8
Kennicott was based on a new design, is a much more complex vessel, and came in for USD $80 Million, or around $108 Million in today's prices.
While I strongly question the idea of building such a vessel for USD $26 million as that's the price of a small to mid sized civic structure on land, there IS cause to wounder at the estimated price tag, especially if the yards have essentially been chosen before the final ship goes out to bid. Why is she more expensive than the Kennicott.
One answer, of course might be that the price of steel was $260 a ton in '98 and is $800 a ton now, but I don't know enough to know if that in itself is the answer. The question is valid, especially as we contemplate what a replacement for Tustimina may cost.
Well, inflation is surely a part of the answer. Another thing, a guess really, that comes to mind is the cost of equipment. If there has been major changes in for instance the engine, deck machinery or electronics manufacturing meaning that there has been consolidation in those markets, that could drive up prices. Also as steel prices have jumped that much it will affect the prices of machinery as well. Though, consumer electronics have in fact become much cheaper at least here in Europe, mostly due to increased competition and the production moving to Asia. What it means for instance for engine control programs, or bridge equipment I have really no idea.
As for building such a vessel for a low price - Greek, Turkish and Asian yards would certainly match the price. I have no idea of the quality though. I know that the Danish ferry Kanhave was built by a Greek yard for 15 MEUR, and she is a fully covered double ender with larger capacity than this Alaska-class - however the orders for the sisters were cancelled as the owners claimed they were not satisfied with the vessel. This was around 2009 and it might also mean they saw a chance of getting rid of more unnecessary capacity as it really was not needed as traffic volumes were falling. Most likely it was a combination of both, as she did have mechanical issues - though memory escapes me what the trouble was. For sure, the Kanhave would not fit into Alaskan waters well, she is for sheltered seas, not to a service where you need sturdy vessels.
The Jones Act itself might be a reason. It comes to supply and demand. I have no idea if there is genuine competition amongst shipyards in the US when it comes to orders of this kind. If there are only a handful of possible interested builders, that might raise prises.
Found the Tacoma presented in Designs 98. Her price tag was given as 91,1 MUSD, where as the sisters Wenatchee were mentioned at 79,6 MUSD and Puyallup at 78,0 MUSD. The difference in the price tags was probably mostly caused by the design and planning of production. But if that cost was already over 11 MUSD the, it will be around 15 MUSD or more today. It also shows that design work is apparently more expensive in US than in Europe. So, the repeat vessels might come in at around 100-105 MUSD - as a guess.
Still it is a shock that such a basic vessel will cost almost the same as Northern Expedition which in itself was an expensive vessel.
Another off topic thought. I know that somebody from Alaska was involved in discussion with Silja Line as they wanted to buy the 1966-built Fennia. This was in the late 1960ies, if I remember correctly, around 1967 or 1968. What I wonder is was this to have been additional to the Wickersham, or if they the chose Wickersham as Silja eventually decided not to sell their flagship.