Korea second to none in shipbuilding
When it comes to shipbuilding Korea is second to none.
Korea has held top spot for six consecutive years from 2003 to 2009 in overall size of the order book with Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding accounting for over 50-percent of global market share.
According to Lloyd’s World Shipbuilding Statistics, Korea ranked 1st in two of the three key shipbuilding indicators last year with nearly 8.6-million Compensated Gross Tons of new construction orders and 29-million tons of vessel deliveries followed by Japan and China.
CGTs indicate the amount of work that is necessary to build a given ship.
And Korea’s shipbuilding capacity is projected to surpass 50-million gross tons by next year, which is nearly half of the world’s total shipbuilding capacity.”
Experts attribute the country’s world-class know-how to advanced technology based on strong research and development and low dependency on imports of shipboard equipment which some say are what distinguishes Korean-made vessels from those made in China, Korea’s fast chasing rival.
“Korea didn’t become the world’s best over night. Innovative research was conducted over the course of years, such as building several vessels in a single dock, and building ships in water, which I believe were methods first introduced by Korea. China is chasing top spot, but Korea’s advanced technology, especially in specialized ships, will not be replaced any time soon.”
However, experts also add that Korea’s shipbuilders face tough challenges that are more threatening than before as many shipping firms have either delayed or cancelled deliveries following the global financial crisis, which resulted in an unprecedented plunge in vessel orders.
Although there are some signs of economic recovery, observers agree that Korea must counter the crisis by focusing on value-added vessels that differentiate itself from its competitors and also establish a protection shield to mitigate vulnerability from factors that are uncontrollable, such as currency risks.