South Korean shipbuilders bagged more than half of new orders placed around the globe last month, relegating China to second place, industry data showed on Tuesday.
According to the data compiled by global research firm Clarkson Research Institute, Korean shipyards clinched new orders worth 300,000 compensated gross tons (CGTs) last month to build seven ships, which is 55.5 percent of total new orders placed globally.
China came in second with 110,000 CGTs, or eight ships, last month, followed by Japan with 20,000 CGTs, or one ship, the data showed.
Last month, a total of 600,000 CGTs worth of ship orders were placed, compared to 560,000 CGTs a year earlier.
The order backlog held by South Korean shipyards came in at 18.97 million CGTs last month, following China’s 28.4 million CGTs and Japan’s 19.26 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 a fall in new orders, order cancellations 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 industry-wide 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.
Last year, Hyundai Heavy is forecast to have swung to the black, while the two other shipyards are estimated to have continued to suffer losses, according to industry sources.