Orders: South Korea Reclaims Top Spot from China

Credit: DSME
Credit: DSME

By The Maritime Executive 01-08-2019 05:34:54

For the first time in seven years, South Korean shipyards have reclaimed the lead on shipbuilding orders, according to newly released data from Clarkson Research.

The data shows that South Korean yards received new orders for a combined 12.63 million compensated gross tons (CGTs) in 2018, 44.2 percent of the 28.6 million CGTs received globally. China, at number two, received orders for 9.15 million CGTs and Japan received orders for 3.6 million CGTs.

Increased orders for LNG carriers have helped South Korean shipbuilders retake the top spot. South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries announced on December 31 that it had received an LNG carrier order worth around $190 million: the latest in a string of orders including four others in December for a total of six LNG carriers.

The yard's orders for 2018 reached 49 vessels - including 18 LNG carriers, 13 container ships, 15 tankers and three special purpose ships. The shipbuilder aims to secure $8.2 billion worth of orders this year. 

According to Clarkson Research, LNG carrier orders globally are likely to reach 69 this year, up from 65 last year and 17 in 2017. Demand is being driven in part by China's growing use of LNG and the adoption of LNG globally as a more environmentally friendly fuel. 63 LNG carriers are expected to be ordered on average annually from 2020 to 2027.

South Korean yards received over 80 percent of LNG carrier orders in 2018. Yonhap news agency reports that, supported by these orders, South Korea's three biggest shipbuilders, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), achieved their order targets for 2018. Hyundai Heavy received orders valued at $13.3 billion, Samsung Heavy Industries $5.7 billion and DSME $6.81 billion.

Clarkson Research data shows that China has the largest order backlog: 29.14 million CGTs, followed by South Korea with 20.9 million CGTs and Japan with 13.91 million.