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South Korea overtakes China in ship orders for first time in seven years

For the first time in seven years South Korea has overhauled neighbour China in the fiercely competitive world of shipbuilding.

Data compiled by Clarkson Research shows South Korea won 12.6m cgt of new orders last year, accounting for 44.2% of global orders, led by a swathe of LNG carrier contracts towards the end of 2018. Chinese yards secured 9.1m cgt of orders last year, accounting for 32% of the global market.

South Korea’s big three yards – Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering – won 66 of the 76 LNG carriers ordered last year.

Korean pricing of its ship contracts however has sparked controversy in recent months with Japan taking Seoul to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in a case supported by European shipbuilding counterparts.

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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