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Friday, November 16, 2018

International Maritime Statistical Forum (IMSF) focuses on ordering of ships

This week’s International Maritime Statistical Forum (IMF) in Singapore provided a forum for people working with maritime statistics to exchange views and try and improve statistics in the marine industry. INTERTANKO’s Manager of Research and Projects, Erik Ranheim, joined participants including researchers from European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), Eurostat, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), Lloyd's Register (LR), LRFairplay, China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) and others.


Several presentations were given on the methodology of collating statistics and recent trends in shipping. There was a strong focus on the recent ordering of ships. Measured in compensated gross tonnes (cgt) (a measure that takes into account the technical complication of building various types of ships), South Korea stands out as far the biggest building country in 2006 with some 22.4 m cgt. China has passed Japan and received orders of some 15 m cgt in 2006, whereas Japan received orders of some 11.3 m cgt. Europe was recorded as having received some 7.5 m cgt of orders, and Other Asia 3.4 m cgt. Only just above one m cgt was ordered to be built in other countries. Tanker orders took the largest share in all the three major shipbuilding countries, whereas “miscellaneous” ships had the greatest share in Europe. Some 83 m dwt with a total value of USD 55 bn was ordered in 2006.


A comparative study of Chinese and Korean yards






More than 5,000 yards, several new big ones under construction

7 of the 10 largest yards in the world.  For 70 years members of Korean Shipbuilders Assoc.

Labour costs

Very low labour costs and the rise in costs is expected to be offset by increased productivity

Skilled labour force but increasing costs


Improving rapidly

Very high productivity

Rate volatility

Fixed against USD


Future plans

Rapid expansion to take the leading shipbuilding position

To take the lead on high value ship design and develop yards abroad


Since 2000, the VLCC price in USD has increased by 86%; converted into Yen it has increased by 104%; whereas the price converted into Won has increased by only 86%.


With new yards coming on stream, in particular in China but also in countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines, and with improving productivity and over-capacity building up in the container sector, a surplus capacity in shipbuilding is considered a possibility. A (temporary?) surplus is also building up in the tanker sector. One presentation forecasted a trade growth in the tanker sector of 3.8% and 4.8%in the dry bulk sector.


The situation seems to develop differently for the various shipping segments with overcapacity potentially building up for tankers and container carriers but a continued tight market for bulk carriers.  A positive development will naturally depend on economic growth continuing.


With the Forum taking place in Singapore, there was naturally some focus on Singapore and the Singapore Strait.  There are a total of some 70,000 ship transits through the Strait every year and tankers represent some 28% of that with some 19,500 transits. In tonnage terms some 3.4 bn  dwt is moving through the Strait every year, of which tankers represent some 55% or 1.9 bn dwt. 


The eastbound commodities that are transiting the Strait are dominated by 675m tons of crude oil, which is five times bigger than the next commodity, ore. Third and fourth come petroleum products and gas. Westbound there are no dominating goods. It is mainly finished products that are transiting the Singapore Strait and not commodities. 


Panama is by far the biggest flag transiting the Strait, because it is the world's biggest flag and it is used by many Japanese owners. Liberia (less than a third of Panama) and the Singapore flag come next.


Japanese owners are the most frequent users of the Singapore Strait in dwt terms, about double the size of Greece, which comes next. China represents the highest value of cargo transiting the Strait, almost double that of the value of the oil from the Middle East. North Europe takes the most goods by value through the Strait, more than twice that of China and Japan, which come next.


The Singapore Strait is naturally of great strategic importance to the whole world.


Erik Ranheim’s presentation to the Forum on the State of the Tanker Industry can be viewed here.


Contact: Erik Ranheim