South Korea’s shipbuilding industry will likely begin picking up in 2014 despite the slumping global economy caused by lingering concerns over the eurozone debt crisis, a report said Sunday.
The global shipbuilding market has contracted gradually since 2007, when the shipbuilding business index (SBI) reached 103.21 points.
SBI is a measure of shipbuilding demand, shipping business sentiment, global trading volume and several other factors affecting the shipbuilding industry developed by the Bank of Korea.
The BOK report forecast that the SBI will rise to 98.87 points and 98.89 points in the first and second quarters of 2014, respectively, after hitting 98.85 points, the lowest in the past several years, in the last three months of 2013.
South Korean shipbuilders won 93.4 million compensated gross tonnes (CGTs) in 2007, with comparable figures plummeting to 54.2 million CGTs in 2008, 16.4 million CGTs in 2009, 44.4 million CGTs in 2010 and 31.7 million CGTs in 2011.
The number of local shipbuilding companies has gradually declined to 75, 67 and 65 in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively, since the 77 in 2006.
“It will take some time for the global shipbuilding market to begin rebounding, as the global shipping volume will not likely increase for the time being due to the slowing global economic recovery caused by the eurozone debt crisis,” said Gong Chol, a BOK official.
South Korea continued to lead the world’s shipbuilding market in the first quarter of this year by winning orders for 60 ships worth $7.9 billion, or half of all global orders.
Global orders for new ships plunged 58.9 percent on-year to 199 vessels up until March.
South Korea accounted for 48.2 percent of a total of 28.11 million CGTs worth of deals globally placed last year.
South Korean shipbuilders focused on high-priced vessels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and offshore facilities last year.
In 2003, South Korea became the world’s top shipbuilding nation for the first time by outstripping Japan in three key categories – shipbuilding volume, order backlogs and new orders.