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PUBLISHER: Container News (

2021 was a record-breaking year for the maritime industry. The spread of three major Covid-19 variants had substantial repercussions for shipping: labour shortages, port congestion and volatile oil demand, to name but a few.

Responding to the fast-changing nature of global trade, the new building orders of 2021 have reflected a world littered with restrictions on movement, geopolitical uncertainty and an increasingly prominent Green agenda. Whilst lockdown consumerism has led to unprecedented container demand, crude products have taken a backseat. An ongoing energy crisis is driving the addition of essential gas carriers to the order book, the full impact of which will only materialise in the coming years.


The cargo vessels covered in this report are containers, bulkers, small dry, tankers and gas.

According to the valuation and data provider Vesselsvalue, 1,286 vessels were added to the order book in 2021, which is a 32.7% increase from the 969 vessels ordered in 2020.

This is paired with extraordinary growth in price for certain vessels. 2020’s total order book was worth US$42.83 billion, compared to 2021’s US$ 91.61 billion, a staggering 114% increase.

As expected, the large majority of vessels ordered in 2021 are to be constructed at yards in China, South Korea and Japan. The number of vessels confirmed in these three countries totals 1,217. 682 in China, 391 in South Korea and 144 in Japan. Other notable builder countries are Vietnam and India, with 21 and 12 vessels respectively.

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