Global shipyards that were retrenching and consolidating in a faltering maritime market barely more than a year ago are now flush with new orders, boosted by efforts by shipping lines to add capacity to meet resurgent consumer demand in Western economies.
Orders for new container ships in the first five months of this year were nearly double the orders for all of both 2019 and 2020, according to London-based maritime data provider VesselsValue Ltd., with the biggest gains going to shipyards in South Korea and China.
The order tally has been so strong that some yards have stopped giving quotes for new vessels and are trying to renegotiate existing orders for more than 20 ships as the price of steel plates used to build vessels has doubled since the end of 2020, according to people involved in those deals.
The resurgence in ordering is being driven mainly by container ships as Western retailers such as Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. scramble to restock after a year of supply-chain disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic.
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