Despite the global shipping industry recession and falling shipbuilding orders, the performance of South Korean shipbuilders is forecast to hit a record high this year. The Korea Shipbuilders' Association (KSA) stated that ship construction was predicted to reach seven million compensated gross tons (CGT) this year, surpassing the record high 6.45 million CGT set last year. The combined ship construction of Korean shipyards in the first three quarters of this year amounted to 5.29 million (CGT), up 3.4 percent from 5.11 million CGT in the corresponding period last year.
Korean vessel exports are also expected to exceed $10 billion mark this year for the first time. The improved profitability of local dockyards was attributable to an increased production ratio of high value added vessels like liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier. The construction of high value-added ships like LNG carriers or tankers had been rising. Tankers accounted for the largest portion of the vessels domestic shipbuilders constructed this year with 2.26 million CGT, followed by container carriers with 1.95 million CGT, bulk carriers with 350,000 CGT and LNG carriers with 245,000 CGT. The KSA said the improved shipbuilding performance was the result of the increased domestic shipbuilding orders received in 2000, which shipyards had been constructing this year, as well as local shipbuilders’ enhanced ship building technology and productivity. At the end of last September, local shipyards had backlog orders for 436 ships, or 14.87 million CGT, worth $22.6 billion, securing work until the end of 2004.