South Korean shipbuilders benefited most from the turnaround in the global ship demand last year with new orders nearly tripling from a year ago, data showed.
According to British marine industry tracker Clarkson Research Services on Tuesday, Korean shipyards clinched new orders of 176 vessels worth 6.45 compensated gross tonnage (CGT) last year, up 198.6 percent from a year ago.
Despite the recovery, it trailed China that recorded 9.19 million CGT or 426 vessels but was far ahead of the third Japan with 1.99 million CGT or 98 vessels. Korea, which mostly makes value-added vessels, nearly matched China in orderbook value with $15.3 billion versus the latter’s $15.5 billion. Japan’s book came to $3.2 billion.
Global-wide orders surged 78.3 percent on year in 2017 with a total 23.22 million CGT.
Korea made the biggest growth last year against the 86.0 percent gain of China and 13.7 percent of Japan.
The global order backlog stood at 77.48 million CGT at the end of December, up 1.3 million CGT from the previous month. Korea’s order backlog also rose 0.26 million CGT to 16.25 million CGT in the same period.
Korean shipyards have raised their order targets for this year on expectations of an industry rebound. But they are also struggling to shore up their finances after racking up colossal losses following a prolonged slump.
Last October, industry leader Hyundai Heavy Industries completed its 3.5 trillion won ($3.28 billion) self-rescue plan through sale of non-core assets and mass layoffs. It recently said it would raise 1.29 trillion won ($1.2 billion) in March via a rights offering to improve its finances.
As of last September, Samsung Heavy Industries had achieved 65 percent of its 1.45 trillion won self-rehabilitation plan with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering completing 42 percent of its 5.9 trillion won plan.
By Woo Je-yoon and Kim Hyo-jin
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]