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Cancelled newbuildings total at 564, says DNV

THE latest estimate by Norwegian class society DNV of the number of newbuilding orders cancelled puts the total at 564. DNV’s latest figure is only modestly higher than the 492 it reported in April and is less than some estimates from other sources. DNV senior market analyst Jakub Walenkiewicz told Lloyd’s List that DNV refined the basis for its estimate. “We believe this figure is robust,” he said. Most of the orders cancelled are bulk carriers, with South Korean yards suffering more cancellations than Chinese yards. DNV’s latest figure is based on sources that include firm information on cancellations including engine orders cancelled at engine manufacturers and cancelled orders for other shipboard equipment such as hatch covers for bulk carriers. Even so, Mr Walenkiewicz said the process was not straightforward because some cancelled equipment orders turned out to relate to ships that were not formally recorded as having been contracted. Simply using information from owners and shipbuilders on cancellations can be misleading because some owners announce cancellations that include options or pending orders together with firm contracts. One owner announced 10 bulk carrier cancellations, but only five of them had been firm orders. Builders are often reluctant to admit cancelled orders. In addition, Mr Walenkiewicz said some ships ordered at Chinese yards and cancelled by their owners were still being built but had been reassigned to Chinese owners, or the yards were continuing to seek new buyers. Some orders are being converted to other ship types, such as bulk carriers switching to product tankers, although these can be tracked because their IMO number remained unchanged. The number of confirmed cancellations to date is still a relatively small proportion of the orderbook — just over 10% in the case of bulk carriers. But Mr Walenkiewicz said that DNV expected the number to continue to climb and ultimately reach 25% of the orderbook. However, he suggested that even after cancellations, delays to delivery schedules and allowing for increased scrapping, this would not be enough to prevent major oversupply in the dry bulk market. His projection indicated there could be a surplus of as many as 697 bulk carriers by the end of 2010. This suggests pressure on the market will continue.

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