Platts, Jan 17, 2011
China has overtaken South Korea as the world's top shipbuilder for the second consecutive year, data released by shipbrokers and the Chinese government last week showed.
London-based Clarkson Research said in its latest report that Chinese shipbuilders have snapped up a total of 15.9 million compensated gross tons or CGT in new orders while South Korea was in the second spot with 11.77 million CGT.
Compensated gross tonnage is a unit of measurement that allows comparison of different shipyards' production regardless of the types of vessel produced.
"In terms of production, they [Chinese] are ahead. The problem is the accessibility of their ships in the international market," a source who is in charge of sales and purchase at a shipbroking company said.
"People who really want to wait to buy a ship will go to the South Koreans [while] someone who needs a ship [soon] will look to the Chinese," he added.
QUALITY VERSUS QUANTITY DEBATE GOES ON
While the jury is still out on who builds better ships, the source described the South Korean shipbuilders' work as more "refined." They "don't offer any discounts to get orders," he added. ...
(However, in terms of order value, South Korean shipbuilders outpaced Chinese rivals by winning contracts valued at a combined $30.61 billion in 2010, higher than the comparable figure of $28.29 billion for Chinese shipyards. Back in 2003 South Korea became the world’s top shipbuilding country by outstripping Japan in three key categories, i.e. shipbuilding volume, order backlogs and new orders. But Chinese rivals outpaced South Korean shipyards in the number of new orders received and order backlogs in 2009 as China grabbed new orders at cheap prices while their South Korean counterparts continued to focus on high-priced vessels and offshore facilities. -- D.R.)