New orders for merchant ships placed worldwide fell 17.2 percent in the first half of 2014 to 944 ships totalling 20.48 million compensated gross tons (CGT) compared to 1,236 ships totalling 24.73 million CGT in the same period a year earlier.
New orders on the world market have been declining for six consecutive months since December 2013 when they reached 373 ships amounting to 7.94 million CGT, said market researcher Clarkson Research Services. CGT, an indicator of the amount of work needed to build a given ship, is used as a tool to compare inter-country shipbuilding output. As of end June, the total global order book was 5,274 ships totalling 112.27 million CGT, the lowest so far this year. South Korean shipbuilders were overtaken by Chinese yards in the number of new orders won in the first half of 2014 and China took over as the world’s largest shipbuilding country. South Korean yards won new orders for 164 ships totalling 5.55 million CGT in January-June 2014, down 29.5 percent from 230 ships totalling 7.87 million CGT in the same year ago period. During the same period, the share of global ship orders held by Korean yards fell to 27.1 percent from 31.8 percent. But during this period, Chinese yards won orders for 481 ships amounting to 9.09 million CGT, increasing their share to 44.4 percent from 39.9 percent. In terms of the value of new orders, Chinese yards won US$14.5 billion of new orders in the first half of 2014, above the US$13.2 billion won by South Korean yards. In the month June 2014 alone, South Korean shipbuilders dropped to third place after falling behind Japan, accounting for 16.6 percent of new global orders compared to Japan’s 25.9 percent. Chinese shipbuilders won 47.7 percent to take the top position in June.