Ship export contracts concluded by Japanese shipyards in December surged 148.2 percent from a year earlier to 1,657,340 grt or 29 vessels, the Japan Ship Exporters' Association said. Orders consisted of 15 oil tankers, 13 bulk carriers and one freighter, it said. The statistics cover orders received by association members for steel vessels of at least 500 grt. For the whole of calendar 2000, ship export contracts rose to 14,561,340 grt or 301 vessels, up 66.7 percent from the previous year, the association said.
An official of the industry body attributed the sharp gains for December and for the year to an increase in oil demand
, particularly from China, and firming freight rates in line with higher crude oil prices
. Major Japanese shipbuilders include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries
Co. Ltd., Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Hitachi Zosen and Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Ltd. - (Reuters)