With world ship completion on a declining trend since its 2011 peak, the challenges of over-capacity and over-supply have increased for the shipbuilding industry. Consequently, the pressure on governments to introduce or expand policies to assist ailing shipbuilders has further intensified. At the same time, there is a greater level of international and regional-level environmental regulation affecting the operation of vessels, inducing both challenges and opportunities for shipbuilders.
These issues are made more complex by the growing weight of non-OECD economies in the shipbuilding market, and the existence of value chains linking shipbuilding and the wider maritime sector both within and across countries.
Against this backdrop, the OECD continues to support governments in establishing and maintaining normal competitive conditions in the shipbuilding market.
Around this central tenet, policy transparency and improving the understanding and design of shipbuilding policies, are important objectives. The OECD remains the only international forum where national representatives and industry and union interests can come together to exchange views and conduct economic and policy analysis on all aspects of the shipbuilding sector.
It is a platform for peer dialogue, sharing of best practices and policy transparency. Current OECD work on shipbuilding policy specifically addresses the key challenges of the global shipbuilding industry, including excess supply and excess capacity.
The shipbuilding industry is now faced with a major crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the short term, shipbuilding is expected to suffer from production disruptions linked to the closure of yards, supply shortage and delays in orders and deliveries. In the medium term, the shipbuilding industry is likely to face a demand shock with the expected drop in international trade that is the key driver of ship demand. Moreover, demand for passenger ships in particular cruise ships is also expected to be affected by the current crisis.