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Japan’s September vessel orders down 12% on year, outlook seen positive

Japanese shipbuilders received export orders for a total 668,098 gross tons across 17 vessels in September, down 12% year on year and down 43.7% from August, Japan Ship Exporters Association data released Monday showed.

A JSEA official said that despite the decline, orders in September were still higher than the average over April-June at 523,233 gross tons and were expected to increase in coming months.
“Shipbuilders are continuously receiving more inquiries from customers, such as vessels to correspond with the new requirement by the International Maritime Organization’s to use lower sulfur fuel from January 2020, and we expect more orders will be placed soon,” he said.

He noted that bulk vessel orders were rising while total vessel orders were lower. “Bulk vessels are Japan’s main product for export and higher bulk orders are good sign for Japanese shipbuilders,” he said.

Orders for bulk vessels comprised 587,000 gross tons of September orders in 14 vessels, after averaging 419,200 gross tons in 10.3 vessels over April-June, JSEA data showed.

A Tokyo-based trader said vessel orders were recovering, but slowly.

“Shipbuilders will lift their operating rates when they secure more backlog orders, but that won’t be soon because backlog orders are still decreasing,” he said.

Backlog orders for vessel exports held by Japanese shipbuilders stood at 25.59 million gross tons across 503 vessels at end September, down 5.8% on year.
Source: Platts

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