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The global Cable Laying Vessel market size was valued at US$ 5.16 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach US$ 8.56 billion by 2030, grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% from 2023 to 2030. Cable laying vessels are specialized ships used to lay underwater cables on the seafloor for applications such as offshore wind farms, power transmission between countries and islands, offshore oil & gas platforms, and telecommunication networks. The increasing demand for power transmission infrastructure and offshore renewable projects are key drivers fueling the growth of the cable laying vessel market.

The Cable Laying Vessel Market is segmented by type, power rating, depth rating, length, application, and region. By type, the market is segmented into power cable laying vessels, umbilical cable laying vessels, and others. Power cable laying vessels account for the largest share as they are widely used for long distance power transmission and offshore wind farm applications.

Cable Laying Vessel Market Regional Insights

  • North America is expected to be the largest market for Cable Laying Vessel Market during the forecast period, accounting for over 42.5% of the market share in 2022. The growth of the market in North America is attributed to the expanding offshore wind energy projects and aging power infrastructure requiring upgrades.
  • The Asia Pacific market is expected to be the second-largest market for Cable Laying Vessel Market, accounting for over 25.6% of the market share in 2022. The growth of the market in is attributed to the several offshore oil & gas projects and growing focus on renewable energy integration.
  • The Europe market is expected to be the fastest-growing market for Cable Laying Vessel Market, with a CAGR of over 16.3% during the forecast period. The growth of the market in Europe is attributed to the rising number of offshore wind farms and grid interconnection projects.

Figure 1. Global Cable Laying Vessel Market Share (%), by Region, 2023

 | Coherent Market Insights

Cable Laying Vessel Market Drivers:

  • Expanding offshore renewable energy projects: The rapid growth in offshore wind farms and increasing focus on offshore renewable energy integration are major factors driving the demand for cable laying vessels. Governments worldwide are encouraging offshore wind projects to meet renewable energy targets. For instance, the new offshore wind target of the European Union stands at 300 GW by 2050. This will require extensive deployment of submarine power cables, creating substantial demand for cable laying vessels.
  • Rising offshore oil and gas exploration and production: The growing number of offshore oil and gas projects in deep and ultra-deep waters globally is a key driver for the cable laying vessel market. These complex projects require subsea cables and umbilicals to connect various components. For instance, the Cortez Subsea Cable Project laid two intra-field cables of around 100 km length at depths up to 3,400 meters. Such projects will drive the demand for advanced cable ships.
  • Investments in offshore power grid networks: Several undersea high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable network projects are being constructed globally to connect offshore wind capacity and enable power trading between countries. For example, the North Sea Wind Power Hub plans to build an artificial island with interconnections to countries for exchanging renewable energy. Such investments in offshore power transmission infrastructure support the cable laying vessel market.
  • Upgrades to aging subsea infrastructure: Aging subsea cables used for power transmission, telecom networks, and oil & gas operations require upgrades and repairs, driving the demand for cable laying vessels. For instance, the 20-year-old Basslink HVDC interconnector between Tasmania and Australia had an outage in 2015 due to a faulty cable, requiring cable repairs and service restoration activities.

Cable Laying Vessel Market Opportunities:

  • Offshore renewable energy targets in Asia Pacific: Governments in Asia Pacific are implementing ambitious offshore wind and marine renewable energy targets, creating substantial opportunities for cable installation contractors. For instance, Taiwan aims to install 5.7 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2025 and Japan plans 10 GW by 2030. This will drive demand for efficient cable laying vessels in the region.
  • Emergence of hybrid power systems: The integration of offshore wind with oil & gas platforms for providing continuous power is an emerging opportunity for cable laying vessels. Hybrid offshore power systems to supply wind energy to oil platforms are gaining traction. Chevron has installed a wind turbine to power the Petronius oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Advancements in cable laying vessel capabilities: Increasing opportunities from deeper waters, high-voltage cables, and complex offshore projects is driving advances in cable laying ships. For instance, cable lay vessels are equipped with dynamic positioning capabilities, increased cable capacity, and innovative carousels to handle wider cable ranges. This supports market growth.
  • Offshore wind project expansion in Europe: Europe will continue to dominate in offshore wind capacity additions over the next decade. Major projects in the planning stage such as Dogger Bank Wind Farms in the UK and Noriker Iskenderun project in Turkey will create substantial demand for capable cable laying vessels till 2030.

Cable Laying Vessel Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2022 Market Size in 2023: US$ 5.16 Bn
Historical Data for: 2018 to 2021 Forecast Period: 2023 - 2030
Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR: 7.5% 2030 Value Projection: US$ 8.56 Bn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa:  GCC Countries, Israel,  South Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa and Rest of Middle East
Segments covered:
  • By Type: Power Cable Laying Vessel, Umbilical Cable Laying Vessel, Other
  • By Power Rating: Up to 1000 HP, 1000-2000 HP, 2000-5000 HP, Above 5000 HP
  • By Depth Rating: Shallow Water, Deepwater, Ultra-Deepwater
  • By Length: Below 50 m, 50-150 m, Above 150 m
  • By Application: Offshore Wind Power Grid Connection, Offshore Oil and Gas Production Facilities, Island Interconnection, Offshore Platforms, Others
Companies covered:

Nexans, Prysmian Group, NKT, LS Cable & System, ZTT, TF Kable, Fujikura, JDR Cable Systems, Apar Industries, Tratos, Hengtong Group, Sumitomo Electric Industries, KEI Industries, Taihan Electric Wire, Universal Cables Ltd, Sterlite Technologies, RPG Cables, Hitachi Metals, Zhongtian Technology Submarine Cable, Orient Cable

Growth Drivers:
  • Expanding offshore renewable energy projects
  • Rising offshore oil and gas exploration and production
  • Investments in offshore power grid networks
  • Upgrades to aging subsea infrastructure
Restraints & Challenges:
  • High costs of cable laying vessels
  • Logistical complexities
  • Shortage of skilled workforce

Cable Laying Vessel Market Trends:

  • Deployment of high-voltage direct current technology: The offshore renewable sector is increasingly adopting high-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology for long distance power transmission. HVDC cables minimize transmission losses over hundreds of kilometers. This has led to development of cable ships capable of handling complex multi-terminal HVDC networks.
  • Rising deployment of submarine fiber optic cables: The surging bandwidth demand globally has led to rising investment in transcontinental submarine communications cable network projects. New fiber optic cables with terabit per sec capacities such as Dunant, Jupiter, and MAREA enable high-speed low-latency data transmission.
  • Use of shore-end approach in installation: Shore-end cable installation is being increasingly used wherein the cable is pulled ashore before laying offshore. This method enables better cable lay control and minimizes vessel downtime. Leading companies are advancing pull-in systems using capstans, linear cable engines and tensioners.
  • Growing adoption of autumn/winter season for activities: Cable laying during autumn/winter months is gaining preference due to favorable weather conditions. Calmer winds and lower wave heights support efficient installation. Companies are also hiring ice-class cable lay vessels designed to work in freezing waters.

Cable Laying Vessel Market Restraints:

  • High costs of cable laying vessels: The substantial investments required to build or lease advanced cable laying vessels limits market growth. Vessel construction costs can range from USD 150-500 million based on capabilities. Leasing rates of cable ships are also quite high depending on project requirements.
  • Logistical complexities: Offshore cable laying activities face significant marine logistics challenges related to route planning, cable loading, burial methods and environmental factors. Complex logistics require comprehensive project management capabilities and add to costs.
  • Shortage of skilled workforce: The availability of skilled workforce for specialized cable laying vessels is limited. Professionals experienced in underwater cable planning, subsea cable engineering and offshore operations are in short supply globally. Crew training and retention remains a key challenge.

Recent Developments

New product launches

  • In January 2022, Kleven launched its next-generation cable laying vessel, the Kleven Mariner. The vessel has a 3,000-ton cable capacity and is designed for power cable laying in shallow and deep waters.
  • In June 2021, Baker Marine Solutions unveiled its next-generation cable laying vessel design, the Merlin Class. The vessels will be capable of laying submarine cables in waters up to 3,000 meters deep.
  • In March 2020, Ulstein launched the Nexans Aurora, an advanced cable laying vessel with 10,000 tonnes cable capacity and 150 tonnes offshore crane. It will support submarine cable installation projects.

Acquisition and partnerships

  • In September 2022, Jan De Nul Group acquired the Vole au Vent cable laying vessel from Prysmian Group to expand its offshore installation capabilities.
  • In November 2021, Prysmian Group partnered with offshore services provider Havfram AS to enhance its cable laying services for offshore wind farms in the North Sea.
  • In June 2020, Oceanteam partnered with cable manufacturer TFKable to provide cable storage and handling for offshore cable laying using the company's cable lay vessels.

Figure 2. Global Cable Laying Vessel Market Share (%), by Length, 2023

 | Coherent Market Insights

Top companies in Cable Laying Vessel Market

  • Nexans
  • Prysmian Group
  • NKT
  • LS Cable & System
  • ZTT
  • TF Kable
  • Fujikura
  • JDR Cable Systems
  • Apar Industries
  • Tratos
  • Hengtong Group
  • Sumitomo Electric Industries
  • KEI Industries
  • Taihan Electric Wire
  • Universal Cables Ltd
  • Sterlite Technologies
  • RPG Cables
  • Hitachi Metals
  • Zhongtian Technology Submarine Cable
  • Orient Cable

*Definition: The Cable Laying Vessel Market refers to the global market for specialized ships used for installation and burial of submarine cables on the seafloor. Cable laying vessels are vital for development of offshore infrastructure for power transmission, telecommunications, and offshore oil & gas platforms. Key capabilities of cable ships include cable loading, laying, burial and repair across various water depths.

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Frequently Asked Questions

High capital costs, delays in offshore projects, shortage of skilled workforce, regulatory issues, and logistical challenges.

Expanding offshore oil & gas activities, growth of offshore wind farms, increasing power interconnections, and growing bandwidth demand.

Power cable laying vessels are the leading segment owing to rising demand for offshore wind and power transmission applications.

Nexans, Prysmian Group, NKT, LS Cable & System, ZTT, TF Kable, Fujikura, JDR Cable Systems, Apar Industries, Tratos, and others.

Asia Pacific is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period.

The CAGR of market is projected to be 7.5% from 2023 to 2030.
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