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Korean shipbuilders lead high value-added, eco-friendly market in 2022 2023-01-05

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced on January 5 that South Korea’s shipbuilding industry won home 37 percent (15.6 million compensated gross tonnage (CGT), USD 45.3 billion) of all orders worldwide.

Korea’s market share grew 4 percent to 37 percent in 2022, which is meaningful considering the 22 percent decrease in total global orders in 2022 compared to the previous year. Market share was largest in 2018 (38 percent).

This achievement is assessed as attributable to Korea’s highly advanced technological competitiveness amid the dominant supply of high-value added, eco-friendly shipbuilding orders.

In 2022, total global shipbuilding orders amounted to 42.0 million CGT, 22 percent lower than those during 2021 (53.6 million CGT) when demand exploded after being bottled up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By vessel type, container ship orders worldwide fell 42 percent year-on-year to 11.8 million CGT in comparison with those of 2021. Likewise, orders for tankers and bulkers declined 52 percent and 57 percent, respectively, to 2.9 million CGT and 5.0 million CGT each.

However, total global LNG carrier orders rose 131 percent to a historic 14.5 million CGT owing to heightened demand from the Russia-Ukraine war.

Korea grabbed the largest market share for high value-added, eco-friendly vessel orders in 2022, bagging 58 percent (149 vessels, 12.0 million CGT) out of total orders for high value-added vessels (270 vessels, 20.8 million CGT). It also won 70 percent (10.1 million CGT) of global orders (14.5 million CGT) for specifically large-scale LNG carriers.

The percentage of eco-friendly vessel orders (from 32 percent in 2021 to 62 percent in 2022) is rapidly growing in step with tightening International Maritime Organization (IMO) environmental regulations, and Korea ranked first place by securing 50 percent (13.1 million CGT) of total global orders (26.1 million CGT).

By fuel type, approximately 92 percent of Korea’s orders is for LNG-fueled carriers, followed by methanol-fueled carriers (5 percent) and LPG-fueled carriers (3 percent). More than half (54 percent) of the global orders for LNG-fueled carriers in particular were awarded to Korean shipbuilders, taking first place in market share.

Korea’s five major companies all surpassed their initial order targets for 2022. Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) won $24.0 billion (197 vessels) worth of orders, 38 percent more than set target ($17.4 billion). Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) exceeded targets by 7 percent and 16 percent, respectively, winning $9.4 billion (49 vessels) and $10.4 billion (46 vessels) worth of orders.

MOTIE plans to pour KRW 130.0 billion into Korea’s shipbuilding industry this year for technological development of core equipment and materials, and worker training. Special focus will be given to development of electric and ammonia-fueled vessels to attain future technological hegemony, while preparing to commercialize the LNG storage system and advance extremely low temperature pumps to widen the technology super gap of LNG carriers.

In addition, MOTIE aims to train up interested job seekers into skilled workforce for the shipbuilding industry and continuously improve the foreign labor system to resolve the industry’s manpower shortage.