The order backlog held by South Korean shipyards fell to the lowest level in over 13 years in October amid a protracted slump in the global shipbuilding sector, industry data showed Wednesday.
According to the data compiled by global research firm Clarkson Research Services, the shipbuilding order backlog held by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and its other local rivals stood at 21.53 million compensated gross tons (CGTs) as of end-October, the lowest since August 2003, when the comparable figure was 20.77 million CGTs.
Chinese players held a combined 33.44 million CGTs order backlog at the end of last month, while Japanese rivals’ order backlog reached 20.28 million CGTs, the data showed.
In October alone, the local shipyards clinched new orders worth 290,000 CGTs to build 10 vessels.
South Korean shipyards accounted for 16.3 percent of the shipbuilding orders placed around the globe in total in the first 10 months of the year, while the comparable figures for Chinese and Japanese rivals were 35.3 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively, they 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) last year 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 10.35 trillion won in a desperate bid to overcome a protracted slump and mounting losses.