CHINESE newbuilding markets are expected to see more encouraging signs at the start of the new year, with ship prices continuing to climb, led by the dry bulker sector, based on last month's indications.
The monthly China Newbuilding Price Index, which tracks ship prices at Chinese yards based on inputs from 19 member broking houses, rose two points to 768 in December 2017.
The dry bulker sub-index increased four points to 787, while the tanker index edged up one point to 823 points. At the same time, the containership index grew three points to 789.
China's status as the world's largest dry bulker-building nation remains intact, with its shipbuilders winning 59% of global new contracts last year in terms of compensated gross tonnage, according to Clarksons.
In the tanker newbuilding market, South Korean builders won by a landslide, taking 60% of global orders in cgt terms for 2017, although when it came to boxship new orders, Chinese yards outpaced Korean yards, with 48% of the global pie versus 36%.
SOUTH Korean authorities have approved a plan to establish an entity to support the country's maritime sector by passing new legislation.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries will form a committee to help set up the organisation and decide on operational details such as its governing structure, management plan and staffing, according to a statement by the ministry.
WITH the contract season fast approaching, transpacific carriers have been boosted by news of spot rate gains following the partial success of proposed general rate increases for the start of 2018.
A host of carriers announced surcharges effective from January 1, including Hapag-Lloyd, OOCL and MOL, reflected by a significant jump in rates reported by the latest Shanghai Containerised Freight Index.
NORDIC Tankers and Embarcadero Maritime have agreed to sell their joint venture Crystal Nordic and its shortsea ice-class chemical tanker fleet to German owner John T Essberger.
HONG Kong-listed Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation has signed a newbuilding contract for two very large crude carriers worth about $160m as it continues with an ordering spree.
SHIPBROKER Howe Robinson is expanding its dry bulk exposure by opening an office in Bergen to focus on Norwegian tonnage involved in worldwide trades, according to the new office's director Sturle Waardal.
TANKER Elsa Essberger is facing repairs after colliding with an unmanned oil platform on New Year's Eve off the Netherlands, according to manager and owner John T Essberger.
IRISH Continental Group has revealed it has signed a $200m deal to acquire the world's largest ferry in terms of vehicle capacity.
NORWAY-listed Ocean Rig has appointed Pankaj Khanna, the former head of Oslo-listed Pioneer Marine, as its president and chief executive.
THE International Maritime Organization's amendments to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, which came into effect on January 1 this year will see seafarers' rights to shore leave strengthened.
TWO vessels detained by South Korea over allegedly transferring oil products to North Korea in breach of UN sanctions are reported to be owned by Chinese shipping companies.