The shipbuilding industry completed another difficult year as low contracting activity remained a trend in 2017, exerting further pressure on the yards.
The global orderbook in 2017 reached 3,158 units of 196.9 million dwt, according to Clarksons Research, falling below 200 million dwt for the first time since 2004.
Low ordering activity has meant that some yards have been left idle for quite some time and may be forced to close their business.
As reported earlier, the number of ‘active’ yards (those with at least one vessel of 1,000+ GT on order) fell from 440 at the start of 2017 to 360 as of start 2018.
A total of 902 orders of 72.8m dwt were reported globally, only the third year in the past twenty in which less than 1,000 new orders were reported, according to Clarksons.
Bulk carriers were most in demand with orders for 286 vessels placed last year, followed by tanker orders which increased to 271 vessels, but fell well below the level of ordering in 2015.
Meanwhile, the boxship newbuilding market showed fewer signs of improvement with just 108 units ordered.
Gas carrier and ‘ship-shaped’ offshore ordering was also limited, with just 39 and 37 contracts reported respectively in 2017, Clarksons data shows.
Chinese builders claimed the throne in 2017 having won the largest share of orders last year, totaling in 9.2 million CGT.
Ordering at Korean yards improved on record low 2016 levels, but remained limited at 6.4m CGT, while reported contracting reached 2.0 million CGT at Japanese yards.
European shipbuilders continued to reap fruit from strong appetite from cruise liners for newbuildings, which accounted for 38 ptc of global estimated contract investment in 2017 in value terms, though many yards operating outside of the cruise sector struggled.
Total shipyard output reached 97 million dwt, although ‘non-delivery’ of the scheduled start year orderbook was still significant at 30 pct in dwt terms.
However, given the smaller orderbook, deliveries are currently projected to decline by around 20 percent in tonnage terms in 2018.
On the demolition side, the scrapping activity in 2017 declined by 21 percent in tonnage terms to total 35.2 m dwt. This left overall fleet growth relatively steady at 3.3 pct, slightly faster than the previous year but well below pre-2015 levels.
The total world fleet stood at 1,924 million dwt at the end of the year, with fleet growth remaining firm in the gas carrier and tanker sectors.
“Capacity reductions remain ongoing, but many shipyards are still hungry for new orders. Although contracting activity has picked up slightly, conditions remain difficult, and shipbuilders will be hoping for further signs of market improvement in the coming year,” Clarksons concludes.