South Korea shipyards were highlighting the fact their collective order book during July surpassed the orders received by China’s shipbuilders. While the global shipbuilding industry has been impacted by COVID-19, the South Korean shipbuilders received several significant orders primarily for LNG vessels.
Citing data from Clarkson Research Services, Korean media outlets including MK News and Pulse News were all highlight the volume of orders received by their shipyards. Korean shipbuilders, they reported won orders of 500,000 compensated gross tonnage (CGT) for 12 vessels in July. China, by comparison, had orders for eight vessels totaling just 140,000 CGT.
While the Korean shipbuilders had been able to surpass China in July for the first seven months of the year they however were a distant second to China. Clarkson’s data reported these Chinese recorded orders for 164 vessels or 3.7 million tons. By comparison, the Korean shipyards received orders for 49 vessels at nearly 1.7 million tons.
Clarkson, according to the Korean reports, estimated that total orders in the first seven months of the year were down more than 40 percent accelerating the decline in shipbuilding orders seen in 2019 versus 2018.
Contributing to much of the Korea shipbuilding industry’s success was a large order from Qatar Petroleum. Qatar entered into an agreement with the three major Korean shipyards – Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) – for LNG ship construction. Expected to represent as much as 60 percent of the global LNG shipbuilding capacity, when fully executed the agreement is expected to result in the construction of more than 100 LNG carriers valued at nearly $20 billion.
In addition to the Qatar agreement, the Korean shipbuilders highlighted agreements with Mozambique for eight vessels, orders from Russia for five vessels, and pending orders for DSME.
Both the Korean and Chinese governments have taken a strong interest in supporting their shipbuilding industries. China however is seen as having an advantage because of its large domestic need for ships that are being built at a range of state-controlled shipyards.
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