Vessel Orders Hits Lowest in 15 Years

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

April 22, 2019

Image: South China Shipyard

Image: South China Shipyard

The global newbuilding orderbook for vessels has shrunk to the lowest level in 15 years as vessel owners struggle with excess capacity.

According to to data from Clarksons Research, there were 3,200 vessels of a combined 81 million gross tons ordered globally in the first quarter of 2019, which is the lowest figure since 2004.

A report in the WSJ quoted George Warner of Clarksons Research as saying: "“The global order book has declined to its lowest level since the early stages of the shipbuilding boom.”

The report said that the crude tankers and bulkers made up around two thirds of all orders a decade ago,  but this year the share has dropped to 42% as volatility in commodity markets and changes in global energy consumption have triggered shifts in ocean-going trade.

Ship types like liquefied natural gas, or LNG, carriers now make up a bigger portion of orders, the WSJ report said.

Warner said that the 141 LNG carriers on order represent 13% of the total order book, compared to just 2% a decade ago.

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