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The global cable laying vessel market size is estimated to be valued at US$ 5.16 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach US$ 8.56 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% from 2023 to 2030. Cable laying vessel 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. 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 vessel, umbilical cable laying vessel, and others. The power cable laying vessel segment accounts for the largest share as they are widely used for long distance power transmission and offshore wind farm applications.

Global Cable Laying Vessel Market Regional Insights

  • North America is expected to be the largest market for cable laying vessel 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.
  • Asia Pacific is expected to be the second-largest market for cable laying vessel, accounting for over 25.6% of the market share in 2022. The growth of the market in is attributed to several offshore oil & gas projects and growing focus on renewable energy integration.
  • Europe is expected to be the fastest-growing market for cable laying vessel, growing 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, 2022


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Global Cable Laying Vessel Market: Analyst Overview

  • The global cable laying vessel market is expected to grow significantly over the next decade. One of the key drivers for this growth is the rising investments in offshore wind farms globally. As countries look to increase renewable energy capacity from offshore sources, the demand for cable laying vessel to lay extensive transmission cables both onshore and offshore will rise steadily. Another major factor is the upgrade and expansion of aging submarine cable networks that transmit telecom and power cables between countries underscoring the need for specialized cable ships.
  • The Asia Pacific region, led by China, is projected to be the fastest-growing regional market for cable laying vessel This is mainly due to the massive offshore wind projects being carried out in countries like China and the expansion of telecom infrastructure. The Europe market will continue to be an important one driven by the large offshore wind installation plans of major countries in the coming years. Some of the constraints faced by players in this industry include high initial capital requirements for vessel and fluctuations in commodity prices impacting project timelines and budgets.
  • New technologies for faster cable laying capabilities and geospatial surveying offer lucrative opportunities for cable laying vessel manufacturers and service providers. Consolidation activities are expected to accelerate in the market.

Global 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 vessel 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 vessel
  • 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 vessel 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.

Global 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 vessel 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 vessel 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 vessel 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 vessel 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, and Other
  • By Power Rating: Up to 1000 HP, 1000-2000 HP, 2000-5000 HP, and Above 5000 HP
  • By Depth Rating: Shallow Water, Deepwater, and Ultra-Deepwater
  • By Length: Below 50 m, 50-150 m, and Above 150 m
  • By Application: Offshore Wind Power Grid Connection, Offshore Oil and Gas Production Facilities, Island Interconnection, Offshore Platforms, and 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, and 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 vessel
  • Logistical complexities
  • Shortage of skilled workforce

Global 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 vessel designed to work in freezing waters.

Global Cable Laying Vessel Market Restraints:

  • High costs of cable laying vessel: The substantial investments required to build or lease advanced cable laying vessel limit market growth. Vessel construction costs can range from US$ 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 vessel is limited. Professionals experienced in underwater cable planning, subsea cable engineering and offshore operations are in short supply globally. Crew training and retention remain a key challenge.
  • Counterbalance: Despite the challenges in the cable laying vessel industry, there are several counterbalances to consider. Innovations in vessel design and technology are driving down construction costs, making them more accessible. Collaborative efforts within the industry have led to improved logistics solutions, reducing complexities and associated expenses. Additionally, investments in training programs and educational initiatives are addressing the shortage of skilled workers, gradually expanding the pool of qualified professionals. As the demand for underwater cable infrastructure continues to rise, these efforts promise to foster a more sustainable and cost-effective market growth, ultimately benefitting the cable laying industry.

Recent Developments

New product launches

  • On September 29, 2023, the France-based communications firm Orange unveiled its latest addition, the cable-laying vessel named Sophie Germain, marking a significant stride in its commitment to establishing a substantial presence in the long-distance network infrastructure sector.
  • On July 25, 2023, Nexans, a global company in the cable and optical fibre industry announced an expansion of its presence in the offshore wind and interconnection market, by adding a third cable laying vessel to its fleet.

Acquisition and partnerships

  • On November 21, 2022, Norwegian offshore and subsea installation contractor Cecon Contracting partnered to build a hybrid propulsion cable installation vessel
  • On October 17, 2022, NEC Corporation,  a Japanese multinational information technology and Electronics Corporation signed a four-year charter contract with Global Marine Systems for an optical subsea cable-laying. Under the contract, NEC will bolster its provision of subsea cable systems and meet the growing demand for subsea cables due to increased global data traffic.

Figure 2. Global Cable Laying Vessel Market Share (%), by Length, 2022


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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 global cable laying vessel market refers to the global market for specialized ships used for the installation and burial of submarine cables on the seafloor. Cable laying vessel are vital for the 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Shortage of skilled workforce are the key factor hampering growth of the global cable laying vessel market

Expanding offshore renewable energy projects are the major factor driving the market growth

Below 50m 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 global cable laying vessel market during the forecast period.

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