South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the world’s largest shipbuilder struggling with dearth of new orders, announced on Friday it would be closing down another dry dock in its main Ulsan shipyard.
The ‘Dock 5’ yard is 380 meters long and 65 meters wide with a capacity to roll out 400,000 tons a year that mainly was used to build oil tankers. The idle dock will be used in the meantime for repair or finished touches in ships.
The announcement marks the shipbuilder’s second dock closure after ‘Dock 4’ operations were suspended last June. The worst-case scenario has yet to materialize. The shipbuilder is scheduled to suspend Gunsan Dockyard, Hyundai Heavy’s largest shipyard whose annual capacity exceeds 1.3 million tons, sometime in May. Its offshore dock in Ulsan is expected to stop late this year.
This means four out of its 11 docks will be suspended this year. Excluding two docks to build special vessels, half of its nine docks for commercial vessels will be emptied. Lack of work across dock-affiliated factories is another problem that plagues the shipbuilder. Some panel assembly factories will be used for different purposes because there is no demand for panel supplies.
Concerns are rising over a potential layoff of employees after a series of dock closures. The shipbuilder said some 6,000 workers will become idle within this year if there is no improvement in current business conditions. About 3,000 workers at Hyundai Heavy Industries and more than 10,000 at its suppliers already lost jobs due to the recent recession across the shipbuilding industry.
By Seo Dae-hyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]