Source: Korea JoongAng Daily
The golden age of the Korean shipbuilding industry appears to have long
since lost its glow. Korean shipbuilders, who once dominated the global
market, received zero orders in April, according to the British maritime
researcher Clarksons Research Services on Tuesday.
Out of the 31
orders placed in April worldwide, 18, or 48 percent of the total, went
to Chinese shipyards. Ten orders came from Chinese companies that wanted
bulk vessels to be made in China. The Japanese obtained two orders in
the same month, whereas Korean shipbuilders, already facing
government-led corporate restructuring measures, including layoffs amid
ever-declining revenue and profit, failed to get so much as one. In
March, China earned 26 orders, Korea received six and Japan got zero.
it is unprecedented that the top three Korean shipbuilders - Hyundai
Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and
Samsung Heavy Industries - would obtain no orders for an entire month.
Since 2000, they have maintained some 100 new orders per quarter, and
order backlogs held by shipyards will keep them busy for a while, but
should the current pace persist, almost half the docks will be vacant by
The three companies currently have 52,000 employees, and the number of workers at partner businesses amounts to 200,000.
first four months of this year have been harshest for the shipbuilding
industry as a whole, which has recently grappled with tumbling oil
prices that, in turn, sapped global demand for tankers and offshore
drillers and led to an oversupply of vessels.
placed on all shipbuilders totaled 114, which is equivalent to 3.89
million in compensated gross tonnage (CGT), or one-third the volume for
the same period last year. Still, China grabbed 49.3 percent of the pie
during the first quarter, while Korean shipbuilders merely managed to
account for 5.1 percent. Japan’s share was 5 percent.
As of the
end of March, the backlog of orders worldwide totaled 126.1 million CGT,
down 1.55 million CGT from a month earlier. By country, China had the
largest backlog of orders at 37.56 million CGT, followed by Korea at
27.59 million CGT and Japan at 21.44 million CGT. The accumulated order
backlog for Korean shipbuilders dropped below 27 million CGT, the first
time since March 2004, when the figure stood at 26.52 million CGT.
on the already troubled shipbuilders is the fall in prices for vessels.
Very large crude carriers had their price tag drop $500,000 in April
from a month earlier, and the price for container vessels was slashed by
$1 million over the same period.