Korean shipbuilders have gained worldwide recognition for their technological advancements and a role in setting new business trends. They now dominate about 40 percent of the global market, with their shipyards full for the next few years due to growing orders. This was made possible by the increase in demand due to the recovering world economy and further economic growth in China. In addition, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is focusing its energy and resources on upgrading ship manufacturing methods, quality and customer service.
HHI has focused on developing new technologies that may set the trend for advanced vessel manufacturing for the next decade. The firm has successfully tested an innovative method of building a 105,000-ton crude oil carrier on ground instead of in a dry dock. HHI now believes this new method will give them more flexibility when responding to increasing orders. Thanks to specializing in large container vessels, it won a contract to build the world's largest container ships. China's Cosco Asia placed orders for four 10,000 TEU ships - each 349 meters long, 45.6 meters wide and 27.2 meters deep. The company said they are developing technologies to build larger containerships, which can carry more than 12,000 TEUs of cargo.
In March, the Korean Shipbuilders Association (KSA) said in a report that the growth outlook for Korean shipbuilders will remain bright for at least 10 years due to growing global demand for new vessels. In particular, Korean shipbuilders will see a boom for large container ships and LNG carriers, which are more profitable than other type of ship, the report said. HHI and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, the second largest shipbuilder in the world, are winning an increasing number of orders for large container ships. The two and other Korean shipbuilders are expected to control about 60 percent of the market for container ships and 65 percent for LNG tankers by 2015, according to industry watchers. Due to the current backlog, the company has lowered its target for new orders in 2005 by 35 percent from 2004, to $5.5 billion. Instead, it has focused on securing profitability with high value-added ships.