New ship orders placed at Japanese yards fell by 80% during H1 2016 compared to H1 2015, according to data from the Japan Ship Exporters' Association (JSEA).
According to ALIBRA Weekly Market Report , this is the worst decline since the autumn of 2008 in terms of gross tonnage.
Yoshikazu Nakaya, a shipping analyst with Mizuho Bank, told Nikkei the current slump is "worse than the one following the global financial crisis” and thinks Japan’s shipbuilding industry “won't recover until 2021”.
The current orderbook of vessels for export stands at 667 ships, of which 196 (30%) will be delivered this year, JSEA says. Some 227 ships (34%) will be delivered in 2017 and 196 (23%) will arrive in 2018.
JSEA’s figures, however, pertain only to JSEA member yards building vessels for international clientele. The figures are for only bulk carriers, tankers (including LPG and LNG carriers), general cargo vessels (including containerships) and combination carriers of over 500 gt.
According to Alibra research, another 278 of these vessels are on order for Japanese carriers. Of this number, we estimate around 82% are due for delivery by the end of 2018.
In the meantime, major yards are planning to spend billions of yen on upgrading their facilities and expanding production capacity.
Among them, Japan Marine United and Tsuneishi Shipbuilding are planning to shift production away from bulk carriers in favour of other vessel types such as ultralarge containerships for JMU and mid-size tankers for Tsuneishi.
Japanese shipbuilders saw their combined share of the global shipbuilding market rise to 29% in 2015 from 13% in 2013, thanks to a weak yen and a spike in demand for energy-efficient
The country’s market share is currently around 19%. Japanese yards are reportedly marketing 2018 slots aggressively, and may have to cut prices to keep busy. Will price cuts be enough to tempt new orders from shipowners, who have already had their fingers burned by over-ordering?