Korean shipbuilding orderbook slides to 10-year low

The order backlog at South Korean shipyards has fallen to its lowest level in 10 years, according to data from Clarkson Platou. The nation’s shipbuilders had 28.44m cgt of orders as of end-February, the first time in a decade the backlog has fallen below 29m cgt.

South Korea’s orderbook is now a long way behind China’s 36.79m cgt.

Other new data out of South Korea shows how shipbuilding is declining as a nationally important industry.

The top 100 Korean companies in terms of market capitalisation have changed dramatically over the past 10 years.

CEO Score, a management evaluation site, investigated the top 100 companies in terms of market capitalisation in Korea, America, Japan, and Europe from 2006 to 2015. The results showed that the Korean top businesses in 2006 were mostly from ‘smokestack’ industries such as shipbuilding/machine equipment, construction/building materials, IT/electronics, petrochemicals and auto part manufacturing. However, the rankings changed dramatically in 2015 to the service sector, petrochemicals, construction/building materials, IT/electronics, distribution, and food/beverages.

Shipbuilding-related companies now make up just seven of the top 100 Korean conglomerates.

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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