The International Shipbuilding Market
Unstable demand persisted in the 1980s, with annual production averaging only 16 million grt during the first half of the 1980s, in contrast with the yearly average of nearly 30 million grt between 1970 and 1975. A major reason for this situation was that the volume of world trade, which had more than doubled between 1965 and 1975, was only slightly above the 1974 level in 1985. Despite capacity reductions of 20 per cent by the mid-1980s, world excess capacity was still estimated at around 40 per cent. 2
This sharp drop in overall demand for ships was accompanied by a major shift in the shares of producing countries in the shipbuilding market. Western European countries had traditionally dominated world shipbuilding prior to the 1960s, but with the rise of Japanese production their share of the market
declined from over 60 per cent in the early 19605 to an average of just over 40 per cent during the 1970s, and to around 15 per cent in the mid-1980s. Japan has been the largest national producer of ships since 1956, accounting for between 40 and 50 per cent of world production since the mid-1960s, with a temporary decline to around 33 percent in the late 1970s.