By staff reporter Zhou Lingling
(Caijing.com.cn) Chinese shipbuilders' order books have improved somewhat since June, but many yards are still operating below capacity, according to official statistics released on Sept. 16.
About 89 percent of all orders received in the first eight months, or 9.8 million deadweight tons, were placed between June and August, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a Web site statement.
New vessel orders in the first eight months fell 82 percent year-on-year to 10.98 million DWT, compared with a 96 percent drop in the first five months to 1.18 million DWT.
However, the rebound was insufficient, considering that the country's major shipbuilders have combined production capacity of 60 million DWT annually.
Domestic shipyards have been under growing pressure as new orders plunged and the order backlog decreased, the China Shipping Industry Association said in an August report. The association said most order backlogs could be depleted by end-2010 or in the first half of 2011.
Some shipbuilders began to operate below capacity in the second half, it added.
Conditions will remain very difficult for the global shipping industry in the next two or three years, the association said.
Zhang Jing, chief researcher at the China Shipping Industry Research Institute, said on Sept. 14 that there had been no signs of a rebound in industry fundamentals.