Friday, March 23, 2012

Japanese "Back on stage"

Another week has gone with slow newbuilding ordering activity in commercial ship market, due to the oversupply of vessels which led to freight rates in depression, and lack of financing.

Amid the newbuilding market having been in trouble again last week, "the interesting dynamic we are starting to see this year though is that of the Japanese yards coming more and more to the fore," noted Clarkson Hellas from its latest report.

Not to mention Japanese' high-end technology for fuel-efficient, eco-friendly vessels, the Yen has is weakening against the Dollar which would lead to enhanced price competitiveness for Japanese yards.

The Yen has recently hit 84.18 Yen to the Dollar, which had dropped to 75 Yen facing Eurozone crisis last year. This will be a relief to Japanese yards, in particular, to those who would go out of work in the second half next year.

Under a weaker Yen, Japanese shipbuilders, who will benefit more in the Dollar-denominated contracts, would actively contract export ships.

The Japanese builders, who seem to lead design market, especially on the fuel-efficient bulker, are more willing to open up to overseas owners. However, shipping market for bulkers seems still not likely to get better in any time soon, so only small amount of orderings are expected.

But it is also possible that Japanese builders would remain strong longer, armed with new design concepts which offer more than a 30% saving on the current vessels and price competitiveness.

During a recent week, South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries and STX Offshore & Shipbuilding contracted one drillship and two OSVs each, Samjin Shipbuilding Industries of South Korea booked two 58,000-dwt bulkers and Jurong Shipyard of Singapore inked one semi-submersible well intervention rig. Also, Brazil's OSX and Wilson Sons penned 11 MR product carriers and four PSVs, respectively.

It seems that offshore sector now leads the newbuilding market.

Published : March 23, 2012

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