CHINESE shipyards pushed their South Korean counterparts off the top spot on the containership order book podium in the first quarter, ending a brief rebound over the previous three months due to dwindling demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels.
Clarkson Research Services said Korean shipbuilders secured combined new orders of 1.62 million compensated gross tonnage (CGT) or 35 vessels from January to March this year, Pulse, South Korea reported.
The volume accounted for the second largest 28 per cent of the entire global order of 5.73 million CGT (196 vessels). China ranked top after having clinched 2.58 million CGT (106 vessels) or 45 per cent of the total.
Italy came in third place with 780,000 CGT (ten vessels), followed by Japan with 470,000 CGT (20 vessels). They represented 14 per cent and eight per cent, respectively, of the global order.
Korean shipbuilders last year reclaimed the lead from Chinese competitors who were in the lead six years ago. Now, the Koreans have been humbled by their Chinese peers who were awarded with ten units of 15,000-TEU containerships from Chinese shippers in March.
The number of LNG ship orders from the US and the Middle East in the first quarter slipped from the previous quarter when Korean shipbuilders scooped up orders for ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
As of the end of March, the global ship order backlog stood at 81.18 million CGT, down 350,000 CGT from a month earlier. By country, China had the largest backlog of 29.92 million CGT, followed by Korea with 21.33 million CGT and Japan with 14.18 million CGT.
The Clarkson Newbuilding Price Index in March remained unchanged from the previous month at 131 points.
By vessel type, a LNG tanker was priced at US$185 million on average, containership of 13,000 TEU-14,000 TEU at $115 million, and a very large crude carrier costs $93 million.