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Orderbook to fleet ratio now at its lowest point since the fall of the Berlin Wall

The global orderbook for all sectors as a percentage of the fleet ratio is now at its lowest point since the year the Berlin Wall tumbled down.

Data compiled by Clarkson Research Services shows that the order book to fleet ratio, which it describes in its latest weekly report as a “yardstick for assessing future supply growth”, is now, at 7.4%, as low as it has been since 1989.

There are sector variations with LNG, for instance, standing at 22%, but the tanker, bulker and boxship ratios are all at multi-decade lows.

Clarksons notes that global shipyard capacity today is around 40% below the peak seen in 2010-11.

So far just 23m dwt has been ordered this year. The full year total, Clarksons suggests, could be similar to 2016’s 30m dwt. By contrast, 180m dwt was ordered as recently as 2013 in what turned out to be a year of severely mistaken hubris by shipowners

Ordering and delivery scenarios suggest the overall ratio could drop lower still in the short-term

Clarksons has also been tracking annual ship deliveries. From 2010 to 19 annual deliveries averaged 116m dwt. This year, deliveries have continued to ease, with disruption at yards in China a factor earlier in the year. The 2020 total is projected by the world’s largest shipbroker to reach 84m dwt, way above the order total, with the size of the orderbook falling by 20% from 195m dwt at the start of the year to 156m dwt by September.

“Ordering and delivery scenarios suggest the overall ratio could drop lower still in the short-term,” Clarksons predicted.

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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