Newbuilding orders for all types of ships were down year on year (y/y) in March, except for tankers.
Figures compiled by Greek broker Golden Destiny showed that 46 tankers were ordered in March, up from 29 tankers in February and the 38 tankers ordered in March 2014.
In particular, Suezmax tanker orders surged 350% y/y, with nine orders in March, compared to just two in March 2014.
The figures showed 51 bulkers were ordered in March, a 62% y/y drop from the 133 bulkers ordered in the same month in 2014.
Seven LPG carriers were ordered in March, down from nine in March 2014.
Eight container ships were ordered in March, down 76% y/y from the 33 box ships ordered in March 2014.
With no signs that a sustained upturn is imminent for the dry bulk market, investment appetite has been bearish. The Baltic Dry Index hit a historic low of 553 points in February, as Chinese demand for coal fell.
However, the drop in oil prices and the growth in oil demand have encouraged shipowners to invest in tankers.
Poten & Partners said in a recent note that the largest boost for Suezmax employment has been the growth in liftings from the Gulf.
There were about 600 reported Suezmax fixtures from the Gulf in 2014, compared to 333 reported fixtures in 2012 and 215 in 2010.
Another bright spot for Suezmaxes has been the growth in long-haul fuel oil movements from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Poten & Partners concluded, “Barring a collapse in worldwide oil demand, Suezmax employment should remain fairly healthy in the coming years.”