South Korean shipyards outpaced their Chinese rivals in terms of new orders for the second straight month in May, with their order backlog rising for the first time in nearly two years, industry data showed.
According to the data compiled by global research firm Clarkson Research Institute, Korean shipyards clinched new orders worth a combined 790,000 compensated gross tons (CGTs) last month to build 21 ships, trailed by Chinese rivals with 320,000 CGTs or 17 ships. Japanese shipyards’ orders came to 80,000 CGTs or three ships.
In May alone, a total of 1.66 million CGTs worth of new orders were placed around the globe, more than doubling from the previous year’s 850,000 CGTs, the data showed. In the January-May period, South Korean shipyards secured 2.07 million CGTs worth of new orders to build 57 ships. China took the second spot with 1.84 million CGTs, or 101 ships.
The order backlog held by South Korean shipyards came in at 17.49 million CGTs last month, slightly up from 17.34 million CGTs a month earlier. The comparable figures for China and Japan were 25.76 million CGTs and 17.17 million CGTs.
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.
Last year, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. swung to the black, while the two other shipyards — Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. — continued to suffer losses.