South Korean Shipyards Projected to Secure Second Place in Global Orders for 2023

SEOUL – South Korean shipbuilders are poised to secure the second position in new global orders in 2023, trailing behind their Chinese counterparts amid a decline in demand. This forecast is based on the latest industry data released on Wednesday.

According to Yonhap News Agency, a global market research firm, South Korean shipyards have acquired a total of 9.55 million compensated gross tons (CGTs) in new orders during the first 11 months of this year. This figure represents a 39 percent decrease compared to the same period last year. The worldwide total for new ship orders stands at 38.03 million CGTs, equivalent to 1,746 ships, marking a 21 percent drop from the previous year.

In comparison, Chinese shipyards have significantly outperformed their South Korean rivals, securing 21.89 million CGTs in new orders, a 6 percent decrease from the previous year. South Korean shipbuilders have contracted to build 201 vessels, while Chinese shipyards have commitments for 995 ships.

This performance trend indicates that Chinese shipyards are likely to dominate the top position in global new orders for the third consecutive year in 2023, with South Korean firms expected to follow.

The decline in orders for South Korean shipbuilders is attributed to their strategic focus on acquiring contracts for advanced, eco-friendly vessels, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers. Despite the overall reduction in orders, HD Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering Co., the leading South Korean shipyard, has achieved 136 percent of its annual order target of US$15.74 billion to date this year.

In contrast, Samsung Heavy Industries Co. has reached only 69 percent of its 2023 target. The performance for Hanwha Ocean Co., previously known as Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co., is at 43 percent of its yearly target.

The potential for these two shipyards to meet their annual targets remains uncertain. However, industry observers note that they might receive a boost from expected orders for 23 LNG carriers from Qatar's state-owned petroleum company, QatarEnergy, by the end of the year.

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