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Time:2008-12-10

Lloyd's List - 10th December  2008
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Shipbuilding orders to drop 60% as owners play pricing 'wait and see'
From Steve Matthews, Shanghai

SHIPBUILDING orders will fall by 60% next year and newbuilding prices
will
drop by 30% from their peak by 2010, according to Bao Zhangjing, chief
researcher at China Shipbuilding Economy Research Center in Beijing,
writes
Steve Matthews in Shanghai.

Speaking at the Asia Ship Finance and Leasing Forum in Shanghai, Mr
Bao said
that "owners will not order as long as they believe prices will fall
further, though yards have no immediate need to cut prices, having a
two- to
three-year orderbook and are adopting a 'wait and see' approach".

He predicted that newbuilding orders, which have already fallen
sharply,
from 14m dwt in August to less than 1m dwt in November, will drop by
60% in
2009 from the 2008 total of about 150m dwt.

There will be a further fall in 2010 to less than 50m dwt.

A modest recovery will appear in 2011 as yards start to seek to fill
spare
capacity from 2012, but it will be 2012 before new orders return to
100m
dwt, Mr Bao said.

These forecasts are derived from CSRC's own economic model. They are
based
on an estimated cancellation rate for current orders of 20-30%. But Mr
Bao
admitted that estimating actual cancellations is "a matter of
judgment"
because shipyards "will not say the correct numbers".

Mr Bao said that "major shipbuilding groups in China have the
experience to
take appropriate action to mitigate the slowdown".

Of new shipyards in China, he said: "Some are very capable but some
greenfield yards have orders and poor performance so some yards will
be
phased out."

He confirmed that Chinese government policy was now focusing on
quality and
trying to avoid previous mistakes, by imposing tougher entry barriers
for
new shipyards.

"But there is a good opportunity for capable yards as the
restructuring
process creates new competitive dynamics," he said.

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