Japanese yards turning down bulker orders

Japanese yards turning down bulker orders

Japanese shipyards, in the fortuitous position of having lengthy orderbooks, are increasingly refusing to take dry bulk orders.

“They’re holding off, waiting for prices to pick up. They don’t have the worries that Koreans and Chinese yards do, in that most of them are full through at least most of 2017,” one broking source in Tokyo tells Splash.

Prices for handies, panamaxes and capesizes at Japanese yards have slid down consistently month by month since September 2014, according to data from Simpson Spence Young.

Moreover, the past 12 months has seen Japanese yards successfully transition their product mix. Clarkson data from last month showed that Japanese shipbuilders which have historically been highly exposed to bulkers (64% in 2010-14, and 29% even in the first three quarters of 2015) now have an increased focus on tankers and boxships (23% and 29% in 2015 in the first nine months respectively).

The weak yen and extremely generous financing terms offered in Japan made many ships on offer in Japan less than 5% more expensive than Chinese equivalents this year, the first time ever such a small price divide has been available. As a result Japanese yards have enjoyed a solid year compared to their over expanded East Asian rivals and are now in a position to pick and choose the orders they accept.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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