Australian Marine industries, in the broadest sense, were valued at approximately $16 billion in 1987 and $30 billion in 1994 − representing an annual growth rate of about 8 per cent in real terms. These industries are likely to become even more significant in the national economy in the future.
They also contribute substantially to export performance − estimated at $6.6 billion in 1994, or 7 per cent of total exports.
Shipbuilding exports grew rapidly between 1990/91 and 1993/94 from just over $75 million to $223 million. However, in the latest four year period, output has been relatively stable − varying between a low of $215 million in 1994/95 and a peak the previous year of $279 million.
・Increased production of high-speed light-weight ferries, primarily for export;
・The development of high-speed light-weight freight vessels, possibly utilising new techniques for cargo handling, adapted from those used for express parcels freight;
・Exploitation of niche markets, where they can be found, particularly in the low-speed ferry sector;
・An increasing requirement for significant investments to capitalise on the opportunities available including:
- education and training of production personnel;
- upgrading of production facilities to enable improved manufacturing methods and equipment to be introduced; and
- in some cases the need for improved QA programmes.
Among ferry service operators the most likely trend appears to be the continuing thrust towards replacing conventional vessels with high-speed craft.
・Asia-Pacific region will remain a key market for high-speed vessels with growth in demand for passenger transport stemming from tourism interests both within the region and outside it;
・Japan will remain an elusive market, but builders are confident of significant market penetration. Much will depend on the development of vessels capable of handling Japan's difficult sea conditions. Research and development of ride control systems that will give aluminium ferries greater ocean-going capabilities, along with propulsion, is an area where Henderson-based operators have invested heavily and with success;
・The Mediterranean is a major potential market, with an ageing, predominantly Greek-owned fleet of more than 500 ferries carrying an estimated 10 million passengers annually. It is also the second most important cruise ship market in the world;
・The Eastern Mediterranean provides a potential market for inter-island and shuttle services due to the growing mobility of Europeans and North Africans; and
・The Caribbean is a future market as new tourist holiday products such as fly-stay-cruise-fly packages switch some demand away from cruise ships to smaller, faster vessels providing ferry and one day cruises.