Bloomberg News

New-Ship Orders Fall to Lowest in Six Years, Clarkson Says

January 26, 2012

(Updates with value of orders, Clarkson comment starting in second paragraph.)

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Orders to build new ships fell to a six-year low after yards completed vessels with a record-high amount of capacity in 2011, Clarkson Plc said.

Global orders for 5,896 vessels, the fewest since January 2006, are worth $336.7 billion, Clarkson Research Services Ltd., a division of the world’s largest shipbroker, said today in a monthly report. Asian shipyards are building about 86 percent of vessels, its figures showed.

Orders peaked in 2007 and 2008 as ship rents reached all- time highs, driven by record Chinese demand for commodities. Current declines in orders and prices reflect waning demand as a glut of vessels in service weighs on rates for tankers, dry-bulk carriers and container ships, Clarkson said. At the same time, banks are curbing finance, it said.

“2011 is likely to have been the peak of the shipbuilding cycle,” the shipbroker said. There are no orders for new ships beyond 2014, and more contracts are at risk of being delayed or canceled this year, it said.

Contracts for 1,214 vessels were signed last year, down 48 percent from 2010, according to Clarkson. Greek investors spent the most at $12.6 billion, it said. Yards completed 2,489 vessels with a record total capacity of 151.3 million deadweight tons, the shipbroker’s figures showed.

Jet Fuel, LNG

Orders fell the most for the largest tankers that haul crude oil and smaller vessels that carry refined products such as jet fuel, according to the report. The biggest gains were for tankers shipping liquefied natural gas.

The total capacity of vessels ordered in China dropped 58 percent, Clarkson figures showed. The country is the world’s largest shipbuilder. Orders slid 45 percent in second-ranking South Korea even as the $123 billion in value of ships contracted at its yards surpassed China, according to Clarkson.

South Korea specializes in higher-value ships, while China’s largest orders are for cheaper bulk carriers, according to Clarkson. The value of ships on order at Chinese yards was $101.4 billion, its data showed.

--Editors: Dan Weeks, Sharon Lindores.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Wiese Bockmann in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at

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