Graph: Monthly shipbuilding bids won by the shipbuilders of South Korea (blue) and China (red), measured by compensated gross tonnage. Credit: Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Fending off the challenge from China’s shipbuilders, South Korea’s shipbuilding companies took 55% of all new ship building contracts measured by total tonnage.
According to an analysis by Clarksons Research, South Korea’s shipbuilders won the bids for 19 vessels with a total of 1.16m compensated gross tonnage (CGT) out of the worldwide shipbuilding orders of 2.1m, outpacing China’s 35 vessels for 620 CGT. Year to date until July, South Korea has won the bids for 11.1m CGT, while China has won the bids for 10.1m CGT.
South Korean shipbuilding’s strong performance is thanks to their technological advantage in building marine transports for liquefied natural gas (LNG). South Korean shipbuilders were contracted to build 103 LNG transports this year, which surged in demand as the land-based LNG pipelines were affected by the Russia-Ukraine War.
Despite the healthy demand, however, the dockyard workers continue to suffer from long hours and low wages, leading to strikes that have been barely contained. (See previous coverage, “Daewoo Shipbuilding Strike Averts Disaster.”)