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China took pole position in 2021’s shipbuilding ranking

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Despite Korea’s strong performance, it trailed behind China in overall placing

Data released by United Kingdom-based analyst, Clarksons in late December 2021 revealed the global order volume of new ships in 2021 was 45.73 million compensated gross tonnes (CGT). Within was Korea’s accounting for 17.35 million CGT at 38 per cent, second only to China’s 22.8 million CGTs.

A race worth watching
Korea started 2022 well with newbuilding orders worth US$1.1 billion; however its shipyards’ good performance might be due to the won’s weakening. Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) received US$1.1 billion worth of newbuilding orders. The company disclosed through a statement the 3 separate orders from shippers in Europe and Latin America comprised 4 units of 16,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessels, 4 units of 2,500 TEU ships and 1 unit of 174,000 m³ liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier. Despite that, it failed to overtake its biggest competitor in the sector.

China’s stellar performance in 2021 was attributed to high demand in cargo carriers. Data from the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry reflected China clocked 96.39 million deadweight tonnes (DWT) as at end November 2021, a 35.9 per cent increase year-on-year. Analysts anticipated China’s orders to catch up given its proven technologies and known patents.

Though the industry is gradually shifting to cleaner fuels, South Korea remains dominant in the score board with its strong focus in liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers. Korea’s main 3 shipbuilders: Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Company Limited (KSOE), Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Company Limited (DSME), and Samsung Heavy Industries Company Limited (SHI) recorded some US$44.5 billion worth of orders as at 5 December 2021. This doubled 2020’s orders of US$21.1 billion. Shortly prior, the country was exploring ammonia-powered vessels which were required to be LNG compatible as well.

However, analysts and industry insiders agreed China has the ability to domestically build LNG carriers. Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding and China Shipbuilding Trading will build 3 large-scale 174,000 m³ LNG carriers for COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation Company. The deal totalling US$554 million was reportedly signed on 7 December 2021. It would be an intense competition worth observing as the year moves forward.

Marine Online News Team
Please email us at marketing@marineonline.com to contact the author for this article.

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