German yards call for aid as orders plunge.
GERMAN shipyards received orders for a mere 20 ships last year, while recording cancellations of 60 planned newbuildings over the past two years, according to industry association VSM.
The orderbook fell to 106 vessels comprising 1.9m gt. Deliveries in 2009 totalled 54 ships of 2.6m gt, which contrasts with record year 2008, when 84 ships of 4.4m gt were built.
VSM stressed that German yards would increasingly focus on special-purpose vessels for the offshore market and other maritime technologies.
However, it demanded political and financial support for the development of new ship types. Federal elections last year slowed down the dialogue with Berlin politicians, VSM said. It added that it was now expecting fresh impetus from new maritime co-ordinator Hans-Joachim Otto.
Mr Otto said he had invited the German coastal states and representatives of the maritime industries to come together on March 18 to discuss primarily financing issues. The government was responding to a recent initiative by the German federal states, he said.