Japanese Ship Orders Sink 65.7 Percent

Japanese Ship Orders Sink 65.7 Percent

Japanese export ship orders fell for the second straight month in June on a year-on-year basis, plunging 65.7 percent to 545,770 gross tons, according to figures released by the Japan Ship Exporters’ Association (JSEA).

Until April, Japanese export ship orders had grown for 17 months in a row. The year-on-year pace of decline quickened in June from 41.0 percent in May.

In June, Japanese shipbuilders received orders for 15 export ships, all of which are bulk carriers. The 15 ships total 257,553 compensated gross tons.

Japan is one of the world’s top shipbuilding nations, along with South Korea and China.

The JSEA figures also showed that Japanese export ship orders in the first half of this year dropped 1.6 percent from a year earlier to 5,060,972 gross tons.

Japanese shipbuilders received orders for 120 export ships — 109 bulk carriers, five tankers, four general cargo vessels and two marine resource research vessels — between January and June. The 120 ships total 2,302,832 compensated gross tons.

Japan is now struggling to recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeastern part of the country on March 11. Although some small shipyards in the disaster-hit areas were affected, major Japanese shipyards that build large vessels for exports are concentrated in western Japan and remain intact.

But Kazuaki Kama, the Shipbuilders’ Association of Japan (SAJ)’s new chairman, expressed concerns about the excessive ship building capacity in South Korea and China, higher prices for steel products and an appreciation of the yen, which erodes the Japanese shipbuilding industry’s price competitiveness.

Contact Hisane Masaki at yiu45535@nifty.com.