Port Security Conference

April 15 2003

South Korean shipbuilding orders reach an all-time high
Shipbuilding orders awarded South Korean shipbuilders in the first quarter of 2003 reached an all-time high of 4.03 million compensated gross tons (CGT), up 340 percent from the corresponding period a year ago.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, vessel construction orders won in the first three months of this year surpassed the previous record-high figure of 3.65 million CGT posted in fourth quarter of last year by 10.6 percent.

South Korea received 123 vessel construction orders in the first quarter, equal to 4.03 million CGT, worth $5.36 billion.

South Korean shipbuilders' backlog of orders at the end of March amounted to 558 vessels equal to 19.2 million CGT, valued at $28.04 billion, equivalent to the construction volume for Korean yards for the next two years and six months.

"The sharp increase in shipbuilding orders is attributed to the worldwide trend to strengthen regulations [following the Prestige disaster], and an increase in the issuance of shipbuilding orders by Asian countries due to a surge in their domestic raw material demand," said Moon Jae-do, a director at the Ministry.

Korean vessel construction increased by 17.4 percent in the first quarter to 1.97 million CGT, and exports rose by 15.1 percent to $2.64 billion.

Notably, 75 percent of shipbuilding orders were from European countries, despite the intensifying industry dispute between South Korea and the European Union. Germany accounted for 22 percent of total shipbuilding orders received by South Korea, followed by Greece with 21 percent.

Large container carriers of greater than 7,500-TEU made up 51 percent of the total orders won by South Korean companies between December and the end of March.

In the meantime, says the Ministry, international ship prices increased for most vessel types, including oil tankers, container ships and bulk carriers, by 4-5 percent from the end of last year.

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