Contracting Activity Slashed in 2014

Weaker ordering in the bulk carrier sector contributed to around half of the y-o-y decline in total contracting activity in 2014, according to London-based research firm Clarksons.

Clarksons data shows that 677 bulkers have been ordered in 2014, cut by almost a half from very strong activity in 2013 when 1,253 bulkers were contracted.

Despite this, bulkers still accounted for the largest share of orders in 2014 (34%).

Total contracting levels declined 41% y-o-y in 2014 with a total of 1,749 ships reported ordered.

” With 44% of newbuilding orders placed in the first quarter of the year, the pace of ordering slowed significantly in the second half of 2014 with 521 ships ordered, down 60% on the first half of the year. Overall, ordering levels declined across the majority of vessel segments in 2014 with only a handful of sectors seeing firmer y-o-y contracting activity,” Clarksons said.

The biggest piece of the contracting cake was assigned to top 3 building nations that received 1,495 orders, with Chinese yards still keeping the lead with 39% of the 39.7m CGT ordered in 2014. South Korean yards follow in the second place with 30% share of 2014 orders and Japanese yards in thrd place with the largest share of contracts in CGT terms since 2006 (20%).

“In the boxship sector, the rejection of the ‘P3’ alliance contributed to lower ordering in the 8,000+ TEU sector and 64% fewer VLCSs were reported ordered y-o-y in 2014 (57 ships). Interest for the smaller sizes supported overall containership contracting and 274 units were ordered in 2014, down 53% y-o-y,”Clarksons added.

In the tanker sector, product tanker ordering fell 75% y-o-y in numerical terms following very strong newbuilding interest in 2013.

Conversely, contracting in the crude and chemical tanker sectors rose 29% and 9% y-o-y respectively in 2014 with 84 crude tankers and 139 chemical tankers reported ordered. Demand for Suezmaxes buoyed crude contracting with 40 units ordered in 2014 compared to just 5 in 2013.

Clarksons’ data shows that VLGCs were on high demand, with gas sector posting a record number of contracts placed in 2014,   176 ships of a 16.6m cu.m.  A record 74 LNG carriers and 5.6m cu.m. of LPG tonnage was ordered in 2014.

The global orderbook at the start of 2015 is 7% smaller y-o-y standing at 5,245 ships.

Source: Clarksons

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