The landing has been cushioned by a shift in orders from mainstream-type merchant ships towards specialised offshore segment support vessels.
According to the BIMCO analysis the shipyard industry seemed to head straight for the output-abyss just 15 months ago. Today the transition from recent years' record high shipyard output to a more sustainable level of output appears to soft-land with global shipyard output clearly slowing down. This BIMCO analysis compares data from December 2011 with data from March 2013, representing a remarkable turn for the shipyard industry.
An integrated part of this soft landing is the evidence of the shifting focus on shipping segments away from the mainstream merchant vessels like dry bulk, tanker and container ships towards the work vessels that primarily serve the offshore oil industry.
Over the past years more and more “ship finance” has ended up being in the support of the offshore industry. This is evident from the fact that the offshore orderbook is the only one which is higher today as compared to 15 months ago. The offshore orderbook includes: FPSO/FSO, drilling ships, offshore support vessels, AHTS, platform supply vessels etc.
The BIMCO research report adds that moreover, there is also a clear trend in sizing up and focus on larger ship types for the new orders placed in the offshore segment. The fact that numbers are “only” up by 20% whereas the capacity, as measured in terms of Compensated Gross Tonnage (CGT), is up by 42% illustrates most of all the large appetite for sophisticated tonnage like FPSO/FSO (+83%) and drilling ships (+75%).The combined force of FPSO/FSO and drilling ships is representing 72% of the offshore orderbook today, up from 51% in December 2011.
Chief Shipping Analyst at BIMCO, Peter Sand, says: “While the shipyard overcapacity remains considerable, the excess capacity is being redirected towards other segments, [i.e.] the offshore oil industry. In the perspective up to 2020, every indication points in the direction of a soft landing for the yards in terms of how they fill the excess newbuilding capacity. The shipping industry, on the other hand, will continue to be impacted by the overhang of tonnage for at least a few more years.”