Chinese contracts for new ships set to fall to the lowest level in 19 years in 2020.
The global fleet of seagoing trading ships will grow at a much slower annual rate in the 2020-24 period than in the previous five years, according to a new forecast from Lloyd’s List Intelligence.
THE global fleet currently stands at 128,953 vessels, with a total capacity of 2,199m dwt, according to the latest Lloyd’s List Intelligence shipbuilding outlook.
Of the total, the offshore and service segment has the largest share, with 27% (35,191 vessels), followed by bulker and general cargo, which accounts for 25% (32,003 vessels). Tankers is the third-largest segment, with a 13% share (17,278 vessels).
For the 2020-24 period, it is predicted that the total fleet will grow at an average annual rate of just 0.9%, adding 5,597 vessels, which is 35% or 1,964 vessels less than in the 2015-19 period. However, in dwt terms, the average growth will be much higher at 3.9% on average per year.
The tanker fleet will have the highest growth rate over the coming five-year period, with 10.1% growth over the five years, increasing the fleet to 18,941 vessels.
The container and ro-ro fleet will grow by 7.0% to 7,737 vessels. Up to 2024, the passenger fleet is set to grow by 5.7% up to 11,255 vessels. The bulker and general cargo fleet will grow by 5% to 33,485 vessels.
Some 2,279 vessels are forecast to be delivered in 2020 in total, up from 1,872 vessels in the past year but lower than the 2,312 vessels delivered in 2018.
“The coronavirus outbreak will mean lower deliveries in 2020 than originally scheduled, but since the Chinese shipyards have the majority of the orders, work has resumed quicker than in many other parts of the world,” LLI said. “Another obstacle highlighted for shipyards is that owners from Europe will have problems in taking delivery of ships due to travel restrictions for both management and crew.”
Contracts in China, the world’s biggest shipbuilder, are forecast to shrink to 388 vessels in 2020, which is its lowest number since 2001. However, that figure will grow to 1,134 vessels by 2024.
In the 2020-2024 period, a total of 12,461 vessels will be delivered to the market, which is a decrease of about 220 vessels compared with the past five-years. Most delivered ships will be bulker and general cargo, with 3,823 ships forecast for this type. Tanker deliveries are forecast at 3,013 vessels and offshore and service at 2,428 vessels.
Of the 6,034 ships in the current order book, China has the largest number of contracts, with 2,514 ships (42% share), followed by Europe with 1,102 (18% share). South Korea has 891 vessels (15%) on order and Japan 723 (12%).
In terms of capacity, the global order book currently stands at 336m dwt, of which 49% of capacity is placed in China (164m dwt). Korean yards have 100m dwt on order (30%) and Japanese yards have 48m dwt (14%). The Other Asia order book is 11.7m dwt (3%).
This year, 1,248 vessels will be removed from the fleet, which is almost 200 vessels more than in 2019. In 2020-2024, the global removals will reach 6,864 vessels, 34% more than in the previous five years.
The increase will be driven by the tanker, passenger and offshore and services segments that will each have in excess of 500 ships removed — more than in the previous five years.