While ‘high value’ ships appear to be in a healthy position for the future, there are also grounds for optimism in most other sectors, said John Crilley of Lloyd’s Register (LR), talking on the supply side of world shipbuilding. Speaking at Exposhipping 2000 in Istanbul, Crilley, from LR’s Marine Business Development Group, said: "one thing that can readily be predicted is that shipping and shipbuilding will increasingly become more competitive, particularly during periods of downturn".
He said, "the supply side of most of the components of the world’s cargo carrying fleet is increasing with exceptions being bulk/oil carriers, general cargo ships and refrigerated cargo ships". By the end of 1999, the world orderbook was at 59 million GT, with two thirds of this volume accounted for by Japan and South Korea. He pointed out that despite the fact that the tonnage levels of the world fleet are increasing, the number of annual completions is not rising. Generally, the average gross tonnage per ship is increasing and ships have longer lifetimes.
"Demolition of old tonnage is one of the most significant aspects of today’s shipping industry," said Crilley. Over the past 20 years, demolition statistics have been dominated by bulk liquid carriers, bulk dry carriers and to a lesser extent, general cargo ships. Today, around 50% of scrappings are fishing vessels and general cargo ships.
The average age of the 88,000 strong world fleet will be 19 years at the end of 2000. There will have to be a dramatic increase in the scrapping of old tonnage if there is to be any reduction in this average age – to keep the world cargo carrying fleet static at 19 years of age alone, we would have to see about 1,870 cargo ships of average age 25 years scrapped annually. Recent years have only seen an average of 665 such ships scrapped.
During his presentation, Crilley examined the major ship type sectors in more detail. He discussed the implications of the mid-70s building boom, and in particular related to the tanker market, where Marpol legislation and more recently European efforts should push demolition to levels we have not seen for a very long time and possibly to the extent that we have never before experienced.
"Operating regulations and increasing competition will be very important factors from now on," concluded Crilley. "Demolitions, particularly in the major sectors, will be of increasing significance – supply/demand balances being affected by too much or too little tonnage replacement".