Tonnage ordered at South Korean shipyards falls by 94% during Q1

A new report has quantified the massive slump in newbuilding activity that has forced most major shipyards in South Korea to restructure and has placed state lenders to the country’s shipbuilding industry under pressure too.

South Korean shipyards accounted for just 7.4% of new vessel orders placed worldwide between January 1 and March 31, 2016, compared with 30.2% a year earlier, according to a report compiled by the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank) and quoted by Yonhap. 

Some 170,000 compensated gross tons (CGT) were ordered in South Korea during the period, down 94.1% compared to Q1 2015. The combined value of orders also dropped 94% year-on-year to $390m during the first quarter, the report said.

The slump in South Korea is a more exaggerated version of newbuilding activity that has been falling worldwide. A total of 2.32m CGT in new vessel orders were placed around the globe during the first quarter 2016, a 71% reduction from the same period last year.

The combined value of orders placed worldwide fell 63% year-on-year to reach $6.51bn, according to the report.

“Overall demand for new ships is weak and all kinds of shipbuilding orders seem to be abnormal,” Korea Eximbank said in the report.

“Their business slump may continue throughout this year, and demand for oil tankers may improve slightly during the second half of the year,” it continued.

The bank expects South Korean shipyards’ current order backlog to keep them busy for another two years.

The country’s shipbuilders are expected to clinch 1.6m CGT in new vessel orders this year, an 85% decrease on 2015, the bank said. By value, this year’s new orders are projected to reach $3.5bn in 2016, compared to $23.67bn in 2015.


Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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