It has been found that the Korean shipbuilding industry lagged behind the Japanese industry in the new order competition in January of this year. Japanese shipbuilders’ monthly new orders eclipsed Korean shipbuilders' in about a year since November 2016. It was said that in terms of order backlogs showing shipbuilders' remaining work, Korean shipbuilders’ order backlog was fewer than Japanese shipbuilders’ as of the beginning of February. While the Korean shipbuilding industry was faltering with a restructuring, the Japanese shipbuilding industry took advantage of the chance.
According to Clarkson Research, a British shipbuilding and marine analysis agency, on January 18, a total of 63 vessels (2,343,310 CGT) were ordered in the world in January of this year. The CGT more than doubled from 1,002,822 CGT in January of 2017.
Of the orders placed in January of this year, Korean shipbuilders landed orders for nine vessels (488,029 CGT) which were 20.5% based on CGT. On the other hand, Japan received orders for 16 vessels (671,397 GTT) which accounted for 28.7% of the total. Chinese companies won orders for 31 vessels (871,725 CGT) which were 37.2% of the total, crushing Korean and Japanese shipbuilders. In January of last year, Korean companies won 33.2% of orders for vessels in the world and Japan, only 4.1% of them.
In terms of order backlogs, Japan (16,096,618 CGT) surpassed Korea (15,247,601CGT) as of the beginning of February.
According to Clarkson, the Korean shipbuilding industry outclassed the Japanese shipbuilding industry in terms of order backlogs since January 2000, but Japan overtook Korea in December 2016 and since then, the two countries have been running neck and neck. As of the end of January this year, the Korean shipbuilding industry got the better of the Japanese shipbuilding industry, but in February, the Japanese shipbuilding industry overhauled the Korean shipbuilding industry again.
Lately, the Japanese shipbuilding industry has been focusing on the eco-friendly ship sector so is expected to have fierce competition with Korean shipbuilders in the future. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is strengthening environmental regulations to reduce adverse effects on the atmosphere and oceans, and orders for eco-friendly vessels are expected to swell.