Interest on the part of shipowners in new builds has again perked up with Hellenic shipowners especially booking a considerable number of ships as 2010 progressed mainly in Chinese and Korean yards. Seemingly they considered that the new building prices were offering certain advantages to them and they had cash available to cover their requirements and were able to secure the necessary financing.
In recent years China has won the lionís share of new building orders, with Hellenic shipowners among their leading customers. Indeed, over half the ships contracted by Hellenic interests for delivery between now and 2014 are to be constructed in China. But many of the ships slated for delivery after 2011 were again booked with Korea yards. Have Korean yards resisted in an effective way the pressure put on them by their Great neighbour? Will the new building trends be maintained both as far as the numbers and the location of the shipyards are concerned? Have the Chinese and the Korean yards entered a re-structuring phase? And what about the sleeping giant, Japan?
The shipbuilders of China and South Korea are no longer newcomers, their shipbuilding industry is now two and four decades old respectively. How are the ships produced bearing up? What are the new trends in shipbuilding? How important will be the effect of new Environmental regulations? Will the new ships be much more efficient than the ships of the current decade? Will this accelerate scrapping and increase shipbuilding demand?
Further, are ship owners ordering the right ships? And what are the costs involved in order to comply with the ever increasing library of regulations, often formulated by people who have little practical knowledge of the maritime industry and are less than willing to listen to those that do have the knowledge? Will Regulators, Yards and Ship owners be able to cooperate in an efficient way and produce results that will keep all involved in business and happy?
Analysts are divided over the supply and demand equation, as well as over the cost equation, but as more ships are daily set to be delivered into the market in the coming months, there is no doubt ship owners have contracted and are building a fleet ready for the future.
The Summit: Building for the Future, to be held in Athens, April 6, 2011, where interaction between shipyards, classification societies, ship owners and the panels drawn from the shipbuilders of the Far East and most importantly the audience (Members of the Hellenic and the International shipping communities), with whom they work, aims to provide the answers.