Koreans Take Aim at Cruise-Ship Construction
 
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Koreans Take Aim at Cruise-Ship Construction

      9/13/2005

Korea's shipbuilding companies are trying to establish themselves in the field of cruise ship construction, an area still largely dominated by European builders. Samsung Heavy Industries, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering have been preparing themselves for an uphill battle against the four established European companies. Daewoo Shipbuilding and Hyundai Heavy have already built passenger vessels for European owners while Samsung Heavy is currently working on a passenger ship for the Netherlands' Norfolk Shipbuilding & Drydock Corp.

Korean shipbuilders expect to get almost double their current rates once they establish themselves in the industry. While an oil tanker normally earns its builders $800 per ton, an 110,000-ton cruise ship will bring in $450 million, more than $4,000 per ton. As lucrative as the business is, however, entering the market may be equally challenging. According to the Association of European Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers, a quartet of Europe-based shipbuilders has maintained a combined 84-percent market share since 2002. Italy's Fincantieri leads with 34 percent, followed by Kvaerner Masa-Yards of Finland at 20 percent, and Germany's Meyer Werft and France's Atlantic Container Line, both with 15 percent. The industry is also fraught with risk. Japanese shipbuilder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries attempted cruise ship construction in the early 90s, but ended up nearly $100 billion in debt. Korea's shipbuilders, nevertheless, are far from being discouraged.


JoongAng Daily  


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