Builders see orders from afar hit $500BKorea’s total overseas construction orders have surpassed $500 billion for the first time in almost half a century.
The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said yesterday that the accumulated value of construction orders from foreign shores has now reached $501.3 billion. The figure shot up two weeks ago as Hanwha Engineering & Construction signed a $7.8 billion city construction contract with Iraq on May 30.
Korea received its first overseas order in 1965, when it was commissioned to build an expressway in Thailand.
By region, the Middle East accounted for 60 percent of the orders, or $301.9 billion. Asia claimed 30 percent with $147.9 billion. By industry, plant construction took up the largest share of 54 percent, worth $268.3, followed by high-rises with 24 percent, and civil engineering works with 18 percent.
The ministry said Korea can become a top-five construction powerhouse by 2014 with annual orders worth $100 billion if the current pace of development continues.
Although domestic demand is slowing due to a prolonged recession, overseas orders are helping make up for the shortfall and could soon outnumber those issued domestically, the ministry predicted.
Construction orders from overseas are now worth more than exports of semiconductors, automobiles or ships, the ministry said.
By Song Su-hyun [firstname.lastname@example.org]