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Sun 25 Jan 2009 11:42 AM

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Mideast shipping companies stand firm on orders

A rash of cancellations for new builds from Asia has rocked the ship building industry.

Shipping companies in the Middle East have no plans to amend orders for new build tankers, despite a rash of cancellations from Asian competitors, it was reported on Sunday.

A recent analyst report from Drewry Shipping said orders for at least 30 new tankers have been cancelled since last August.

But companies in this region insist they will not follow suit.

Saleh Al Shamekh, president for oil and gas at the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia, said he expects to receive the 50 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and chemical tankers on order by 2011, according to UAE daily Emirates Busness.

Other regional tanker operators, such as Gulf Navigation Holding, the National Iranian Tanker Company and Gulf Energy Maritime, are planning to expand their respective fleets by acquiring new ships.

It’s believed Middle East shipping companies account for more than 80 VLCC orders.

Outside the region, shipping companies in Asia have already cancelled orders for 29 new build tankers, 10 suezmaxes and four VLCCs amid the economic downturn.

They include China’s Yangfan Group, Sasebo Heavy Industries from Japan and Hyundai Mipo in South Korea.

Financing problems and concerns about oil demand in the coming years are the main reasons for the increase in cancellations.  

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