Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark has won another order for a series of high-speed aluminum catamaran vessels for the NYC Ferry Service. Ferry operator Hornblower has ordered four 97-foot, 350-passenger vessels, which are a larger platform than the 150-passenger boats that NYC Ferry currently uses – a reflection of the strong demand for Hornblower’s service. The San Francisco-based operator has also ordered one additional 150-passenger vessel. All of these new ferries are currently in production, with an accelerated construction timeline to deliver all five by the end of 2018.
The new orders represent a continuation of Metal Shark’s relationship with Hornblower and NYC Ferry. In July of 2016, Metal Shark was selected to build six out of 19 150-passenger ferries for the NYC Ferry system (originally branded "Citywide Ferry"). Between April and June of this year, Metal Shark delivered all six vessels on time, with an average per-unit build time of ten months. “As proud as we are of our previous record of on-time deliveries to Hornblower, it’s even more of an honor that the client returned to us to produce these significantly larger vessels under even more challenging timelines,” said Chris Allard, CEO of Metal Shark.
Competing Alabama-based yard Horizon Shipbuilding had the order for the other 13 ferries in Hornblower's original service contract, which called for 19 vessels in total. Horizon announced last week that while it has delivered all 10 vessels that were scheduled for completion in 2017, the revenue from construction was not enough to support continued "normal day-to-day operations." Contract options for the 2018 deliveries were not exercised. Horizon said that discussions had not successfully resolved the problem, and it will now take time to reorganize its projects and "make every effort to regain its reputation with the vendors and subcontractors that make up the Horizon Team." The statement did not mention whether Horizon would be filing for bankruptcy.