Shipmakers lead global market

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Shipmakers lead global market

Korea is No. 1 again in terms of shipbuilding orders as of October this year, taking the lead from China.

Between January and October, the country’s shipbuilders received orders of 6.95 million compensated gross tonnage (CGT), according to data from Clarksons Research.

The orders are equal to 39 percent of all ship orders placed globally. Chinese shipbuilders ranked No. 2, with a 35 percent share.

They received orders for 265 ships, equivalent to 6.11 million CGT in total.

Japan was at third place with 2.33 million CGT (13 percent), followed by Italy at fourth with 1.14 CGT (6 percent).

Until September, China was ahead of Korea in terms of accumulated ship orders. October made all the difference for Korea.

In that month, it took 86 percent of ship orders, equivalent to 1.29 million CGT. This was the first time the monthly orders broke 1 million CGT for Korean shipbuilders. The performance was driven by demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and massive container ships.

Chinese shipbuilders had a 10 percent share, at 150,000 CGT, during the same month. Japan followed at third place with 30,000 CGT.

The achievement is meaningful for Korean shipbuilders, which in recent years lagged behind price-cutting Chinese companies. Another macroeconomic factor that pulled down the performance of Korean makers was a weak global economy weakened by the U.S.-China trade dispute.

Analysts and industry watchers anticipate strong demand for LNG ships, which require a higher level of technology. Korean shipbuilders have an advantage because of this. Among a global total of 35 LNG ship orders placed between January and October this year, 32 were won by Korean companies.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO’s) 2020 regulation, which will go into effect Jan. 1, will create opportunities. The IMO rules require ships to use marine fuel with a sulfur content of less than 0.5 percent. This is expected to drive demand for LNG carriers and LNG-powered ships.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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