Significant Slippage of Drybulk Deliveries from China Imminent

BulkerIllustration; Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

Only one dry bulk vessel of the planned 24 newbuildings was delivered by Chinese shipbuilders in February 2020, according to the Maritime Strategies International (MSI) research and consultancy firm.

The trend indicates that a significant slippage can be expected with regard to the drybulk deliveries planned for this year as Chinese shipbuilders, which account for 65 % of the global dry bulk orderbook, return to production following the drop in coronavirus infection cases.

MSI believes the current economic turmoil could offer the yards a chance to re-organize the delivery schedule to help address an arguably bigger problem.

“The orderbook in China is heavily front-loaded and dry bulk shipbuilding activity in the country will drop off a cliff in 2021 unless the schedule is effectively managed,” says MSI Dry Bulk Analyst Will Fray.

Given that three-quarters of the orderbook for 120,000 dwt vessels and above is at Chinese yards, MSI believes a significant amount of slippage from the planned Capesize orderbook is inevitable, with just 0.7 million dwt delivered on average per month over the next three months.

In comparison, a little over half of the Panamax orderbook for delivery this year is being constructed in China, with most of the remainder in Japan. Chinese shipyards account of 54% of the 2020 Handysize orderbook by deadweight with this orderbook also heavily ‘front-loaded’ suggesting that significant slippage should be expected, MSI data shows.

“In the Capesize sector, the delivery schedule is hugely front-loaded, implying a large number of vessels are almost ready for delivery from China. The outbreak of COVID-19 has so far been far less severe in Japan, and we expect to see less slippage in the sub-Capesize segments,” adds Fray.

“What remains to be seen is whether shipyards can use the market downturn to manage the flow of tonnage in the face of a low orderbook and weak contracting activity.”

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