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Chinese Ship Owners Take The Lead over Greeks in Newbuilding Volume Orders

While Greek newbuilding orders are still among the highest, Chinese owners appear to be taking the lead when it comes to total numbers. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Xclusiv Shipbroking said that “we’ve been closely analyzing the Greek orderbook and the ongoing race for the top spot between Greece and China. Across the four main vessel categories – bulkers, tankers, containers, and gas carriers – the Chinese orderbook stands at 544 orders, with the Greek orderbook trailing closely behind at 525. Japan comes in a near third place, with over 200 more orders than the fourth-place contender (Singapore). Currently, Japan has 435 vessels on order, with a breakdown of 226 bulkers, 74 tankers, 24 containers, and 111 gas carriers. Nearly 40% of Japanese orders (173 out of 435) are placed in domestic Japanese yards. This translates to 117 bulkers, 25 tankers, 13 containers, and 18 gas carriers. Notably, Chinese shipyards hold a significant share of Japanese orders, accounting for roughly 33% (144 vessels). Bulkers lead the way here with 88 orders, with 42 inked in 2023 and 6 placed in the first four months of 2024. Gas carriers follow with 33 orders, tankers with 12, and containers with 11 (representing 46% of the Japanese container orderbook). South Korean yards hold orders for 21 Japanese tankers and 60 gas carriers, while Tsuneishi Cebu (Philippines) boasts 21 Japanese bulker orders, and Huyndai Vietnam holds 16 Japanese tanker orders”.

Source: Xclusiv

According to Xclusiv, “the data suggests a growing trust between Japanese owners and Chinese shipyards. Japanese orders placed with Chinese yards have nearly doubled in 2023, and they’ve already placed 12 new orders (6 bulkers and 6 gas carriers) in the first four months of 2024. Talking about China, the country’s metallurgical coal (met coal) demand is expected to see a modest increase in 2024, despite ongoing challenges in the key steel consuming sectors – property and infrastructure. These sectors account for roughly 30% of China’s total steel consumption. Despite the struggles in property and infrastructure, China’s met coal demand has continued to rise in the past two years. This is attributed to a supportive manufacturing sector and robust exports that have encouraged steel mills to maintain production levels. However, the growth rate has slowed down, with 2022 and 2023 witnessing increases of 2.8% and 4.6% respectively, compared to higher figures in previous years”.

Meanwhile, “looking at the import landscape, Mongolia and Russia are expected to remain China’s dominant met coal suppliers in 2024, continuing a trend established in recent years. Australia, traditionally the top source, has seen its market share dwindle due to an unofficial import ban that was lifted in 2023. Although the ban has been lifted, Australian exports are still far from pre-ban levels. Meanwhile, Mongolia and Russia are expected to see stable or slightly increased imports despite China’s reintroduction of a 3% tax on imported coal. In contrast, the US could see a significant rise in met coal exports to China in 2024, driven by infrastructure and logistics improvements. This projected rise stands in contrast to a potential decline in imports from Canada due to lower production levels”.

Source: Xclusiv

Xclusiv concluded that “overall, China’s met coal demand is on track for a slow climb in 2024. However, the outlook is clouded by uncertainties in the downstream steel consuming sectors. The lack of a substantial recovery in property and infrastructure construction, coupled with potential headwinds for Russian exports due to the import tax, could limit the growth potential for met coal demand”.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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