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Shipowners return to buying ways

Genova – There were 411 newbuilds contracted by ship owners in 2017 (20,000 DWT bulk carriers and above, 30,000 DWT tankers and above, 500 TEU container ships and above), compared to 166 vessels during the previous year. In their weekly report, brokers at Banchero Costa noted that the number of new vessel orders during last year was 2.5 times that of 2016: “However, the shipbuilding industry is unlikely to be out of the woods just yet, with order numbers still sharply lower compared to a peak of 1,562 orders placed in 2013, and 1,269 orders placed in 2015. While improving market sentiments are likely to support increasing new orders for particularly dry bulk carriers this year, ship financing may be a limiting factor as European banks continue to struggle with bad shipping debts, resulting in even mid-size shipping companies facing difficulty obtaining funds.”

Following the 2016 downturn due to over-capacity in the global fleet, last year container sector companies ordered new ships for a total capacity of 671,000 TEU, compared to 280,000 TEU the previous year, according to data from the French analysis company Alphaliner. Of the 109 vessels ordered last year, ships under 3,000-TEU capacity numbered 83. Those 20 orders for ships in the 18,000-TEU or over category stand out compared to the zero orders of 2016 – with some of those having signed contracts for 22,000-TEU ships, such as the Swiss MSC, and the French CMA CGM.

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