Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., a major shipyard here, was relegated to third on the list of order backlog in December amid a fall in new orders, while a Japanese rival climbed to second place, industry sources said Monday.
According to the data compiled by global research firm Clarkson Research Services, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., another South Korean shipbuilder, ranked first in terms of order backlog as of December with 6.79 million compensated gross tons (CGTs) to build 104 ships, followed by Imabari Shipbuilding Co. of Japan with 6.26 million CGTs or 204 vessels, Hyundai Heavy with 5.95 million CGTs or 135 and Samsung Heavy with 4.03 million or 83.
Imabari Shipbuilding rose to the third spot in November 2016 by demoting Samsung Heavy to fourth place.
An order backlog is a barometer of a shipyard’s capacity and its future growth.
The order backlog held by South Korean shipyards fell to the lowest level in over 13 years in December amid a protracted slump in the global shipbuilding sector, similar data showed earlier.
The shipbuilding order backlog held by South Korea’s big three shipbuilders stood at 19.89 million CGTs as of end-December, the lowest since June 2003, when the comparable figure was 19.14 million CGTs.
Chinese players held a combined 30.49 million CGTs order backlog at the end of last month, while Japanese rivals’ order backlog reached 20 million CGTs, the data showed.
The shipbuilding industry, once regarded as the backbone of the country’s economic growth and job creation, has been reeling from mounting losses caused by an industrywide slump and increased costs.
The country’s top three shipyards suffered a combined operating loss of 8.5 trillion won (US$7.4 billion) in 2015 due largely to increased costs stemming from a delay in the construction of offshore facilities and the industrywide slump, with Daewoo Shipbuilding alone posting a 5.5 trillion won loss.
The shipbuilders have drawn up sweeping self-rescue programs worth some 11 trillion won in a desperate bid to overcome a protracted slump and mounting losses.