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World Orderbook Up Slightly

The world ship orderbook has recovered slightly from last quarter's 2.5 percent drop, although it still remains below the December 1997 total of 56.6 mgt, according to figures recently published by Lloyd's Register (LR) in its quarterly World Shipbuilding Statistics.

Figures reveal that the total world ship orderbook increased from 55.2 mgt at the end of the March 1998 quarter to 55.6 mgt at the end of the June 1998 quarter, a rise of just 0.7 percent. In terms of new orders reported for the quarter, there has been an increase of 11 percent in terms of gross tonnage over the quarter (from 5.8 to 6.5 mgt). Japan and South Korea share 67 percent of the total world orderbook. Although Japan (18.6 mgt) remains the premier shipbuilding nation, the lead over South Korea (18.5 mgt) is minimal. China maintains third position, at 2.8 mgt. Germany follows, as its orderbook increased from 1.7 mgt to 2.3 mgt in the same period; followed by Italy, almost unchanged at 2 mgt. The market for crude oil tankers remains buoyant, with 17 new orders totaling 1.9 mgt/3.3 mdwt reported in the quarter. This raises the total orderbook for this ship type to 16.9 mgt/30.9 mdwt, representing 40 percent of the total word orderbook. South Korea remains the leading shipbuilder of crude oil tankers with an orderbook for this type of 8.2 mgt/15.6 mdwt. Similarly, there is still great interest in the high value passenger cruise market, with seven vessels of nearly 0.5 mgt of new orders placed in the quarter. These were shared between Italy and Germany, with each nation receiving approximately half in terms of gross tonnage.

The orderbook declined noticeably for both bulk carriers and containerships. The numbers of bulk dry carriers on order fell by over seven percent (to 10.3 mgt). For containerships, there was a decline in the orderbook of nearly nine percent (to 6.4 mgt).

In terms of principal shipbuilding regions, the tables above reveals a noticeable decline in shipbuilding in Eastern Europe, despite an increase in the totalworld orderbook of some 11.5 mgt in the same period.

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