Newbuild orders slump 64% in year to date

Shipbuilders are braced for another slow year for new contracts with data published on Friday by Clarkson Research Services showing newbuild orders are down 64% year-on-year with coronavirus adding to market uncertainty. Just 65 ships have been ordered in the first 10 weeks of the year.

The news follows on from a slow 2019 where newbuilds were down by more than a third compared to 2018.

“A shrinking global orderbook has been one of the more persistent features of the post-financial crisis years, with the volume of tonnage on order now down to c.30% of peak levels,” Clarkson Research Services noted in its most recent weekly report.

Clarkson analysts reported that the size of the global merchant shipping orderbook for ships above 1,000 gt has dropped “sharply” over the last decade: down 70% in vessel numbers and 67% in dwt to 2,953 vessels of 174m dwt.

In terms of newbuild contract investment in US dollars, the estimated contract value of the orderbook is down 54% on 10 years ago, currently standing at $226bn.

“Although the total has now stabilised, there has been a shift in the product mix towards a limited number of ‘higher value’ ship types,” the report stated.

In a survey carried on this site, which closes today, approximately two thirds of readers predict there will be no pick up in ship ordering until 2022 at the earliest.

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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