April 3, 2005

Korea's HMD exits ship repair at Ulsan

Korea's Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, a division of Hyundai Heavy Industries, has exited the ship repair and conversion business at its Ulsan yard. The shipyard's last repair contract, on the crane barge Seorak Ho, was completed on March 31. And from April 4, HMD's No.1 dry dock, used for repairs for the last 30 years, will be switched to new construction.

From now on, the focus of HMD's repair activity will be the Hyundai-Vinashin Shipyard in Vietnam, a joint venture with Vietnam's Vitnam Shipbuilding Industry Corp, in which the Hyundai Group holds a 70 percent stake and which is managed by HMD.

HMD was originally founded as a repair and conversion yard in 1975. Since the late 1990's, however, Korean labor costs have made it harder to compete in this sector against yards in Southeast Asia and China and HMD has put the focus on newbuilding, especially medium sized product/chemical carriers and containerships. It claims a 30 percent market share of the world market for medium size products carriers. Kvaerner Philadelphia has opted for a 46,000 dwt HMD design for the series of Jones Act products tankers it is starting to build.

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