Excess shipyard capacity and a slowing but still considerable orderbook are the negative factors overhanging brighter prospects for shipping demand growth, according to Maritime Strategies International (MSI).
MSI has forecast a structural change to future shipping cycles, “with shorter, sharper cycles with any bull run culled by the relative rapid delivery of legions of ships via the new dynamic shipyard capacity landscape,” Adam Kent, MSI consultant, said.
Kent said that, looking at Compound Annual Growth Rates based on MSI’s assessment of demand in a number of major shipping sectors, crude tankers, containers, chemical tankers all have better prospects over the next five years.
“Convert this into growth in shipping requirements by factoring in distances, speed, port times, waiting time and ballast ratios, the picture becomes even more positive for crude tankers and containers, chemical tankers and LNG carriers,” according to MSI.
However, the supply side remains the source of most problems and despite some recent corrections, the orderbook still casts a long shadow over most sectors. Across all the main commodity sectors the orderbook significantly outstrips the ageing fleet with MPP, Ro-Ro and PCTC the only sectors where there is a better balance of replacement tonnage requirements.
MSI said that shipyards will still be hungry for orders because, based on scheduled orderbooks and maximum historical output, the three main shipbuilding nations are only fully utilised for 2016. In 2017 utilisation drops to around 70% in Korea and Japan and is close to 50% in China.