Japan received orders for export ships totalling 274,970 gross tonnes in December, down 91.1 per cent from the same month a year ago, according to figures released by Japan Ship Exporters' Association.
It is the third consecutive monthly decline in export gross tonnage for Japan. The decline follows export orders that fell 83.9 per cent in October and 79.7 per cent in November after rising 10.4 per cent in September.
The continued sharp fall was blamed on ship owners' flagging demand for new vessels amid the global economic downturn.
Japanese builders received orders for only six ships in December – for five bulk carriers and an oil tanker.
In 2008, Japanese booked export orders for 432 vessels – 364 bulk carriers, 48 oil tankers and 20 general cargo vessels – totalling 19.4 million gross tonnes, off 21.4 per cent from the previous year.
Meanwhile, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), one of the country's largest shipbuilders, recorded $15.09 billion (Dh55.3bn) in revenue in 2008, up 26 per cent from a year earlier, despite the economic downturn, the company said.
Its profit rose by 20 per cent to $902 million, the shipbuilder said.