Confirmed newbuild orders in the first quarter of the year slumped 55% year-on-year with only 6.6m dwt ordered across the three major shipping segments, down from 14.7m dwt last year, according to data from global shipowning organisation BIMCO.
Contracting was already down before the coronavirus outbreak, a trend that has only worsened as the outbreak has spread, first in China and now in the rest of the world.
“Uncertainty about future environmental regulations, as well as lower demand growth outlook in the coming years, already had many think twice before ordering a new ship. The very sharp decrease in market sentiment and global shipping demand has only lowered contracting activity further,” commented Peter Sand, BIMCO’s chief shipping analyst.
The product tanker segment has seen the smallest fall in new orders placed in the first quarter of this year compared to last, with orders down 17.8% to 806,500 dwt.
Dry bulk shipping has had the steepest drop, falling to 1.6m dwt in the first quarter of this year, from 6.9m dwt in Q1 2019.
BIMCO’s latest market analysis also shows that deliveries from Chinese shipyards have been delayed by between four to eight weeks thanks to yard closures during the coronavirus outbreak.