South Korean shipbuilders topped the global order book for the second month in a row in August, as demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers stayed robust in otherwise drought in shipbuilding order.
According to British shipbuilding and marine industry tracker Clarkson Research Services on Tuesday, Korean shipyards clinched combined orders of 630,000 compensated gross tonnage (CGT), or 23 vessels, in August. Their orders account for 73 percent of the global orders, which came at 860,000 CGT with 36 ships.
It is the second straight month for Korean shipbuilders rank the top in the world based on orders.
China came second in August by taking 24 percent of global shipbuilding orders, or 210,000 CGT with 12 vessels.
“Korean shipyards suffered a dearth of orders throughout the first half but their business turned around from June on demand for LNG carrier and very large ethane carrier (VLEC),” said a shipbuilding industry official, adding that the orders for LNG carriers may grow further from September as large-scale LNG projects are scheduled to launch in Mozambique and Russia.
The Korean shipbuilders’ feat comes even as global ship demands have shrunk sharply due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The global shipbuilding orders from January to August this year tally at 8.12 million CGT, down 54 percent from the same period last year.
The global order backlog stood at 69.19 million CGT at the end of August, down 1 percent from a month earlier. The amount is the lowest since January 2004. Japanese shipyards saw the sharpest contraction in the order backlog with 34 percent year-on-year fall, followed by Chinese with 11 percent and Korean with 10 percent.
Chinese shipyards have the largest order backlog of 25.47 million CGT, accounting for 37 percent of global backlog. Korean names have the second largest of 19.15 million CGT, or 28 percent of the total, followed by Japan with 9.34 million CGT or 14 percent.
Ship prices remained barely unchanged.
The Clarkson Newbuilding Price Index was 127 points in August, up 1 point from a month earlier. Prices of LNG carriers, container ships, and bulk carriers stayed mostly unchanged, while those of very large crude carriers and oil tankers fell slightly.