SMM Slated for September 26-29

Tuesday, September 12, 2006
The shipbuilding industry is stronger than ever before and has the longest order book of all time, as it prepares for the SMM 2006, 22nd Shipbuilding, Machinery & Marine Technology, International Trade Fair Hamburg, to be held on the Hamburg Fair site from September 26 to 29. With a record breaking 1,699 exhibitors from 50 nations, SMM is the biggest shipbuilding event. In keeping with tradition, they include all of the world's major shipbuilding nations, who intend to strengthen and expand their position in the world shipbuilding market, showcasing their latest high-tech products at this exhibition.

The mid-year position of the shipyards shows full order books in the run-up to the SMM 2006. According to data from the Bremen-based ISL / Shipping Statistics and Market Review, there are a total of 5,305 orders for merchant vessels of more than 300 GT (Gross Tons) with a total tonnage of 273 million dwt (deadweight tons), or 118.7 million CGT (Compensated Gross Tons, i.e.tonnage weighted to take account of the shipbuilding work needed for the vessel type). That means newbuilding tonnage in the order book has more than doubled since 2003. Clarkson Research indicate as many as 5,708 newbuilding orders placed with 433 shipyards in 41 nations (data valid 30 August 2006). This means that the current global order book even exceeds the levels of the great tanker boom in the mid-70s.

Demand for oil tankers is still the driving force today. The tanker order book currently includes 1,499 newbuilding orders, according to ISL. Clarkson Research even quote 1,708 tanker orders, 150 of these being in the UL/VLCC classes alone (Ultra Large/Very Large Crude Carrier). These are followed by container ships (1,222 units with a total of 55 million dwt) and bulk freighters (857 vessels with 69 million dwt), according to ISL. The high level of liquid gas tankers, that is 337 with a total of 17.1 million dwt, underscores once more the enormous energy demand of the global economy. In the first half-year 2006, the shipyards received a total of 1,289 newbuilding orders, with 75.6 million dwt. There was no change in distribution of orders compared with previous years. The shipping lines placed most of their first-half orders in South Korea (385 ships with 31.4 million dwt), Japan (266 / 19.4 million dwt) and China (344 / 18.2 million dwt). They were followed, in terms of dwt, by the Philippines (1.9 million dwt), Vietnam (0,9 million dwt) and Taiwan (0.8 million dwt) - these were the new names among the Top Ten, which also includes Germany, Romania, Turkey and Croatia.

European countries have also strengthened their position in terms CGT, underlining Europe's primacy in the production of high-value ships. Thus Italy advances to 5th position in the CGT table (though only in 16th position on dwt basis) because they have the world's largest order book for passenger vessels (44). The largest shares of the global shipbuilding market are held by the Big Three from Asia. South Korean shipyards alone accounted for 37.3% of total orders for newbuildings as at 1 July 2006. Japan's shipbuilders accounted for 24%, followed by China (17%), Germany (3.2%), Italy (2.5%), Poland (1.6%), Taiwan (1.4%), Turkey (1.3%), Croatia (1.2%) and Finland (1.6%). While Hamburg is the venue, Ulsan can claim to be the world's capital for shipbuilding production. According to Clarkson Research, there were more than 500 newbuildings in the order books of the three shipyards of this South Korean production center, that is Hyundai Heavy Industries (272 ships), Hyundai Mipo (210) and INP Heavy Industries (36). This order book comprising 193 million GT will give a boost to the world merchant fleet, which currently comprises 643 million GT according to figures from ISL, since demolition rates are very much lower.

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