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Key Trends in the Global Shipbuilding Industry


The shipbuilding industry is undergoing some serious changes at present, with some industry indicators suggesting there is a a bright future and others suggesting the industry is still struggling following the economic crisis. Each year the industry is assessed by Barry Rogliano Salles in an annual review.

The following facts are some of the 2013 annual report highlights:

  • New orders for ships declined in 2012 from 89m dwt (Deadweight tonnage) in 2011 to only 49m dwt in 2012. While this remains higher than the low of 2009 (34m dwt), it is some way off the highs seen between 2003 - 2008 when levels reached 140m dwt.
  • Deliveries dropped in 2012 for the first time, falling to 149m dwt from 159m dwt the previous year.
  • China is the number one shipbuilding nation in the world. At the end of 2012, China had 45% of the market share with an order book of 111m dwt although this figure is down from 154m dwt on the previous year.
  • South Korea remains in second place with a market share of 29% and a 70m dwt order book. According to Barry Rogliano, this is down from 109m dwt on the previous year.
  • European shipbuilders are struggling to get a foothold in the market as their collective market share totaled no more than 1% with an order book of only 3m dwt.
  • Reduced demand and the resulting excess construction capacity caused a fall in price between 5% to 10% in 2012. Competition was so tough that shipbuilders were taking on work at below cost to ensure continued operations.
  • Contract cancellations continued but the levels fell to10m dwt from 21m dwt in the previous year. This has heaped the problems on shipyards around the world and ship owning companies are continuing to file for bankruptcy protection.

While this picture looks quite bleak for the shipbuilding industry, there are other indicators that suggests a bright future ahead. A recent study found that 90% of the goods we buy are transported via shipping and global shipping freight rates recently reached an 18 month high.

So it's not all bad news in the shipbuilding industry. We are glad to see there is life in the industry still as we continue to work with shipbuilders around the world providing solutions through on-site machining applications. 

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Image credit: Nikos Roussos, Flickr

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