Neatly bookending the rise and fall of Korean shipbuilding over the last decade, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has confirmed that work at its Gunsan yard will be suspended from July as orders there have dried up. Earlier this year HHI shuttered two docks at its main facility in Ulsan (pictured) reacting to the slowdown in orders and subsequent deteriorating financial position.
HHI began to build its Gusan yard in May 2008 at the peak of the last supercycle in shipping. The president of the nation at the time, Lee Myung-bak, was on hand for the official groundbreaking ceremony. By the time it was completed the following summer, however, the markets were in post-Lehman shock.
The Gunsan yard is enormous; spread over 1.8m sq m and features one of the world’s largest drydocks, some 700 m long with a huge 1,600 ton crane.