Former minister suggests merging South Korea’s big three yards

South Korea’s top three shipbuilding should be merged into just one or two entities, a former minister said in Seoul yesterday.

Speaking at the Financial Supervisory Service, Yoon Jeung-Hyun, the former minister of strategy and finance, noting the boom and bust nature of shipbuilding, said that the overcapacity in the sector needs urgent restructuring.

“The number of Korea’s shipbuilding giants such as Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) need to be cut down to one or two,” he said.

DSME, which is going through restructuring, is the yard that needs most careful attention, he said. If the government did not get its shipbuilding plans correct, it risks seeing its world dominant position usurped, he warned, citing the example of the decline of Swedish shipbuilding in favour of Japan nearly half a century ago.

South Korean shipbuilding is already going through extensive consolidation.


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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