South Korea Beats China in Shipbuilding Output

South Korea regained its status as the world’s leading shipbuilding nation in 2011 by beating its archrival China and securing deals for large, value-added vessels, data showed Tuesday.

According to London-based market researcher Clarkson Research Services, South Korean shipbuilders won a combined 13.55 million compensated gross tons (CGTs) in new orders last year, while Chinese shipbuilders clinched a total of 9.2 million CTGs.

Last year, South Korea accounted for 48.2 percent of a total of 28.11 million CGTs worth of deals globally placed, compared with a 31.2 percent share a year earlier, according to the data.

In terms of order value, South Korean shipbuilders outpaced their Chinese rivals as well. South Korean shipbuilders won deals valued at a combined US$ 48.16 billion last year, higher than the comparable figure of $ 19.2 billion for Chinese shipyards, the research institute said.

Last year, South Korean shipbuilders focused on high-priced vessels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and offshore facilities.

But South Korean shipyards’ order backlogs were smaller than those of Chinese rivals. South Korean shipbuilders’ order backlogs came to 37.66 million CGTs, far lower than 44.99 million CGTs for Chinese shipbuilders, according to Clarkson.

In 2003, South Korea became the world’s top shipbuilding nation by outstripping Japan in three key categories — shipbuilding volume, order backlogs and new orders.

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