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Korea Back On Top As World's Largest Shipbuilding Nation

Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, failed to receive any new orders in 2009. Most of the other shipbuilding companies in Korea were also impacted as well.

In 2007, new orders for Korean shipbuilders added up to 32 million tons. In 2008, the fell by nearly half, and they plunged again in 2009 as the global financial crisis hit the industry hard. As a result, Korea lost the top place in the global shipbuilding industry to China.

However, performance began to change this year and Hyundai Heavy Industries has increased new orders by almost 200 percent to 1.5 million tons in the first quarter 2010.
Korean is now a head of both China and Japan in new ordered tonnage.

Hyundai Heavy Industries took $4.3 billion in shipbuilding orders in the first four months of this year, up 20-fold from the same period last year. In April alone it won $1.3 billion worth of orders to build 23 vessels including LPG ships, bulk carriers, pure car-truck carriers and three very large crude carriers, the company said.

The shipbuilder pointed out that although it is premature to conclude that the shipbuilding industry has recovered fully from the economic slump, it is a significant improvement compared to the situation last year when the company won no orders for commercial vessels.