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ANALYSISAUSTRALIA


Infrastructure hurdles threaten growth


Australia, for so long a mecca for the heavy lift and project sector with its mining and energy boom, is beginning to pose a few questions for industry players, reports Iain MacIntyre.


here are soundings being picked up from the industry that engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) decision-making on future investment is in a state of limbo pending the result of the forthcoming election in Australia There is no immediate fear of work opportunities ceasing in the project sector and the general mood is still buoyant, but there is not quite the same degree of certainty about what the future will bring – and that observation is being backed up by the views of some experienced


T www.heavyliftpfi.com industry commentators.


Berndt Olesen, a consultant to major industry players such as specialist shipping company HANSA HEAVY LIFT, said that generally the heavy lift and project markets are under pressure. “Like in other sectors, too many ships have been built for a market that has been shrinking. Australia is still one of the few highlights in the world but even here, projects are drying up,” he observed. Pointing to a number of large offshore gas projects being developed in the waters around Western Australia, Olesen informed:


“Gorgon is still the most active project in Australia, utilising a significant number of heavy lift vessels and tugs and barges. With the AMY facility in Thailand coming on stream soon this number is likely going to increase. Subsequently, Western Australia’s Ichthys project (designed to position Australia as the world’s top exporter of LNG by 2017) has significant ocean transportation scope and it is expected that this will be the case for Wheatstone as well.” Steve Harvey, sales manager Europe at Ruslan International – the marketing arm formed to sell the outsize and heavy lift cargo capacity of the 17-strong fleet of Antonov Airlines and Volga-Dnepr Airlines AN-124 aircraft – is hopeful of a change in the market but reports that inquiries have flattened out. He noted: “Most AN-124


July/August 2013 97


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