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Korea ranks No. 2 behind China in ship orders

May 15,2019
Korea ranked second for a second straight month in April in terms of new shipbuilding orders, falling far short of orders won by Chinese rivals, industry data showed Tuesday.

In April, Korean shipbuilders secured orders totaling 280,000 compensated gross tons (GCTs) to build seven ships, accounting for 23 percent of orders placed around the globe, according to London-based Clarkson Research Services, the world’s leading provider of data for the shipping and shipbuilding industries.

Chinese shipbuilders bagged 770,000 CGTs in orders to build 28 vessels, or 64 percent of the global orders in total, topping all rivals in the past two months, the data showed. Japan came in third at 60,000 CGTs, or three ships. In April alone, new shipbuilding orders reached 1.21 million CGTs, down from the previous month’s 2.88 million CGTs.

In the first four months of the year, South Korean shipyards bagged orders totaling 2.02 million CGTs, or 45 vessels. China topped the list with 3.44 million CGTs, or 140 ships, the data showed. In terms of order backlog, China came first with 29.96 million CGTs with a 37 percent share, followed by Korea with 20.98 million CGTs, or 26 percent, and Japan with 13.97 million CGTs, or 17 percent.

Korean shipbuilders focused on building high-end ships such as liquefied natural gas carriers, drill ships and oil-exploring offshore facilities, while smaller Chinese rivals have relied on massive sales of low-end ships such as bulk carriers. But China has been rapidly catching up with Korea technologically in recent years.

Korean shipbuilders such as Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering have suffered from oversupply and low orders amid a slowing global economy after getting hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis.