Shipping & Logistics

3 countries control 90pc of global ship manufacturing

cruise tourist vessel
A cruise tourist vessel at the Port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

China, Japan and Korea are still dominating the building of ships in the world, with the three countries controlling 90 percent of global vessel production in 2018.

A report by the United Nation’s Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has put China the leading in shipbuilding at 40 percent, with Japan and South Korea sharing an equivalent of 25 percent each to combine their workforce at 90 percent.

China delivered 60 percent of bulk carriers, 47 percent of general cargo ships, 49 percent of container ships and 45 percent of offshore vessels, while Korea delivered 64 percent of Gas carriers and 42 percent of oil tankers. Japan delivered 45 percent of chemical tankers.

According to UNCTAD, Bangladesh is now the main country of demolition having received 47.2 percent of tonnage sold for demolition with 59 percent being oil tankers. “In early 2019, the total world fleet stood at 95,402 ships, which accounted for 1.97 billion dead-weight tonnes (dwt) of capacity. Bulk carriers and oil tankers maintained the largest market shares of vessels in the world fleet (dwt), at 42.6 percent and 28.7 percent, respectively,” says the UN report.

It further says that carrying capacity grew by 2.6 percent, compared with the beginning of 2018.


“The growth rate has been declining since 2011, except for a slight increase in 2017, and remains below the trend for the past decade. Developments in the world fleet unfolded against a background of continued oversupply in ship-carrying capacity,” says the Review of Maritime Transport 2019 report. Oversupply, the report says, has remained a structural feature in most shipping segments, causing downward pressure on freight rates in 2018.

“This is particularly the case in the container ship segment. Depressed market conditions and poor financial returns of recent years have been driving container shipping companies to adopt coping strategies, such as mergers and acquisitions, consolidation, vertical integration and change in deployment patterns. These strategies may affect developing countries’ connectivity and transport costs,” it says.