Endangered Sungdong workers urge Korean authorities to fix refund guarantee situation

Workers at struggling Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering are begging state banks to help out and issue refund guarantees.

A branch of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU) has called on the Export-Import Bank of Korea to ease requirements for issuing refund guarantees. The union claimed that the yard has lost up to 10 ship orders from European companies in recent months because the yard was unable to fix refund guarantees.

Sungdong’s orderbook is set to expire this October, at which point it could follow compatriot SPP Shipbuilding and cease operations. Its workforce has more than halved in the past couple of years.

Sungdong, started out as an equipment manufacturer, then a block builder, before moving into shipbuilding in 2004, pioneering onland construction and becoming a global top 10 yard before tough times hit. It has been in a debt workout scheme for most of this decade.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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