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December 17, 2009

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New shipyard orders sink 61%

NEW orders for domestic shipyards sank 61 percent in the first 11 months from a year ago, as uncertainties still loom over the horizon for the shipping industry, government statistics showed.

New deals signed by the end of November totaled 22.94 million deadweight tons and order books totaled 189 million DWT, a 7.7-percent drop compared with the start of the year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on its Website yesterday.

The industry output of domestic shipyards in the first 11 months jumped 29.2 percent year on year to 494.3 billion yuan (US$72.4 billion).

Exports during the same period rose 17.2 percent from a year ago to 228.4 billion yuan, but they were lower from the 62.7-percent jump in 2008.

But the ministry's Chief Engineer Zhu Hongren told a maritime forum early this month in Shanghai that the most difficult time for shipyards hasn't arrived yet.

Shipping companies around the globe have been cutting their fleets and delaying deliveries of new vessels due to overcapacity as global trade volume shrank.

"Shipbuilders still face overcapacity in the next two or three years, and it will take more time for the industry to return to its peak period between 2003 and 2008," Zhu said at the forum.


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