Amid the current muted shipbuilding market the Japanese orderbook has shown its endurance and recently surpassed its South Korean counterpart in size for the first time since 1999, according to Clarksons.
While the orderbook is shrinking for all of the Big Three builder countries, the Japanese orderbook is undergoing the slowest rate of decline. This month's Shipbuilding Focus takes a look at the development of the Japanese orderbook.
As of start March 2017, the orderbook at Japanese yards stood at 775 ships of a combined 18.9 million CGT, the second largest globally. This was its lowest monthly level since January 2014 in CGT terms.
However, the Japanese orderbook has experienced the smallest year-on-year decline amongst the top three builder nations, 23% in CGT terms compared to a 28% and 36% decline in China and Korea, respectively.
In addition, Japanese yards' forward cover is currently at 2.7 years in CGT terms, surpassing 2.5 years at Chinese yards and much higher than Korean yards' 1.5 years.
"Japanese yards are backed by a strong domestic owner base and the orderbook is becoming more diversified across the major vessel sectors, with orders for larger vessels securing a longer backlog of work," said Clarksons.
"Whilst the fortunes of Japanese yards will depend on the changing shipbuilding environment, they currently have the second largest orderbook globally in CGT terms and in today's tough newbuild contracting market, this appea rs to be relatively resilient."