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South Korean Shipbuilding Industry Overtaken by Japanese

Korean Shipbuilding

South Korean shipbuilders’ backlog dipped below 20 million CGT in December last year for the first time since July 2003.

According to Clarksons Research, South Korean shipbuilders’ backlog as of the end of last year is estimated at 19,916,852 CGT and 473 ships while that of Japanese shipbuilders is estimated at 20,064,685 CGT and 835 ships and that of Chinese shipbuilders is estimated at around 30 million CGT.

In December last year, South Korean shipbuilders’ backlog dipped below 20 million CGT for the first time since July 2003.

South Korean shipbuilders overtook their Japanese counterparts by a margin of 21,000 CGT in the last month of 1999. At this time, however, the latter caught up with the former in 17 years. At the end of last year, the gap was approximately 140,000 CGT. An average LNG carrier is equivalent to 80,000 CGT.

“It seems that Japanese shipbuilders succeeded in keeping their backlog from falling below 20 million CGT by means of successive orders placed by Japanese shipping companies,” said an industry source, adding, “This is in stark contrast to the situation witnessed during the boom period in August 2008, when South Korean shipbuilders used to record a backlog of more than 70 million CGT to exceed that of Japanese shipbuilders by a margin of no less than 31.6 million CGT.”

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