The US classification society ABS reported strong growth during 2014, meeting its goals for fleet growth and technical achievements.
The ABS-classed fleet grew by more than 7% year-on-year to 221 million gt. It captured more than 31% of the LNG carrier order book and 23% of the very large LPG carriers on order. Crude tankers continued to represent the lion's share of tonnage, rising nearly 4 million gt to over 77 million gt, which equates to over 1,300 vessels. Total tonnage in bulk carriers increased to 46 million gt.
In the offshore market, ABS was active in both the global shallow-water and deepwater market sectors building on its strong relationships with shipyards, suppliers, operators and drilling contractors.
The organisation maintained its leading class share for mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) and floating production installations and once again classed the majority of the world's jack-ups for the calendar year. ABS held a 56% share in both the drillship and semisubmersible sectors at year-end and closed out 2014 with 45% of the offshore production units in operation.
The ABS technology portfolio continued to drive innovation in areas such as ice phobic nano-structured coatings and surfaces to support Arctic operations and computational fluid dynamics to help shipyards and designers improve efficiency and environmental performance. Offshore research efforts were directed to improving jack-up safety and working with operators on dual-gradient and managed pressure drilling technologies.
Speaking at the organisation's AGM, chief-exec and president Christopher Wiernicki stressed the growing importance of condition-based and data-driven analytics. "Big data will be the catalyst that ties together regulations of the future, technology advancements and class of the future. It will enable regulators, owners and class to provide enhanced decision-making, insightful discoveries and process optimisation that foster a safer and more efficient industry."