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South Korean Shipbuilders Losing Mid-size Ship Market to China and Japan

Non-major South Korean shipbuilders are failing to improve their business conditions unlike the top three.

At present, approximately 50,000 ships are estimated to be in operation worldwide and very large ships the top three are concentrating on make up less than 10 percent of the ships. It is Chinese and Japanese shipbuilders that are leading the market segment of large and medium-sized ships.

“For any further development of the shipbuilding industry of South Korea, industrial ecosystem enrichment is required that covers medium-sized to very large vessels along with equipment, infrastructure, manpower, and many more,” an industry expert pointed out.

The manpower side is causing particular concerns these days. “The manpower in the industry more than halved to 90,000 or so in a decade through the government-led restructuring,” one of the top three explained, adding, “The current number is less than the minimum required level, 100,000 and this is because a lot of medium-sized shipbuilders were driven out of the industry due to the restructuring.”

Experts are calling for a bigger role of the government. “In China, medium-sized shipbuilders and the government are working together for design, R&D and marketing,” one of them said, adding, “Their South Korean counterparts are in need of similar collaboration.”
Source: Business Korea

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