WORLD trade will require 1,000 to 1,800 new vessels, averaging some 18-20 million deadweight tonnes (dwt), per annum until the end of the century, according to British engineering expert Professor Ray Thompson. Professor Thompson, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the Britain's University of Newcastle upon Tyne told the Marintec China 93 conference that the Japanese and South Korean yards expected to obtain by far the biggest slice of the orders. The Japanese and Koreans respectively account for 41 per cent and 24 per cent of gross tonnage output. Professor Thompson said it seemed most unlikely they would want to relinquish their dominance of the market, despite China knocking at the door. He said that despite ''green'' pressure, ''certainly in the short term'', oil and ore bulk carriers should account for some 60 to 70 per cent of the new orders in tonnage terms, with half of the remainder being ordered to replace general cargo vessels. In cash terms, gas carriers could be expected to play a significant part in market development, probably well in excess of some US$1 billion per annum. Despite improvements in fuel and operating efficiency, he expected new ships' demands for bunker fuel to be substantial. Reviewing the development of related technology, he said it was abundantly clear that improved materials would play a key part in the building of new vessels. ''Not only will the new fibre/ceramic materials be required to enhance strength-to-weight ratios of the predominant structures used at sea, but also they will be intrinsic to power plans design, manufacture and subsequent operation,'' He said the quest would continue for improved diesel engine energy conversion, with efficient combustion, high power-to-weight ratios and efficient waste heat recovery the aims. ''However, by far the most important development needs will be those associated with sea-going personnel,'' Professor Thompson said. ''They will have to be educated and trained to operate as an integral part of the entire transport scenario; technically adept, managerially acute and ultimately capable of responding to almost any emergency which may occur.''