JAPAN's shipbuilders posted a 9.4 per cent increase in export ship orders, totalling 912,142 gross tons, according to figures released by the Japan Ship Exporters' Association (JSEA).
While year-on-year growth slowed over three months after a 218.5 per cent increase in January, 35.4 per cent in February and 10.9 per cent in March, April was the 17th straight month of gains, reported the Journal of Commerce, adding that shipbuilders received orders for 18 bulk carriers and four general cargo vessels.
Japan still rivals Korea and China in shipbuilding, though its export ship orders started a steady decline in October 2008 with the global downturn. The government provided the yards export financing in early 2010 through the semi-state Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
"The global economy is on a recovery track fundamentally," said Shipbuilders Association of Japan chairman Takao Motoyama, also chairman of Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co. "Barring an extreme appreciation of the yen, I think we will be able to secure as much export ship orders this year as we did last."
Japanese shipbuilders received orders for 271 export vessels - 251 bulk carriers, 10 general cargo vessels and 10 oil tankers - in 2010. The 271 ships total 4,982,409 gross tons.