China Loses Shipbuilding Crown to South Korea


China is poised to lose its title as the world’s biggest shipbuilding nation to South Korea for the first time in five years as several shipyards from Dalian to Guangzhou lay idle while others exit the industry amid a slump in orders.

As the CHART OF THE DAY illustrates, delivery of vessels from Chinese shipyards reached 10.73 million compensated gross tons, a measure of building time and human resources used per ton, in the first 11 months of this year, according to Clarkson Plc. That’s less than the 11.13 million tons from South Korea, which is poised to take the top slot for the first time since 2009. China is still the world’s No. 2.

After two decades of a loan-fueled boom, China’s shipbuilding industry has become saddled with debt and overcapacity, prompting some private firms to seek financial assistance from the state. In September, the government issued a list of 51 shipbuilders it deemed worthy of public support even as private shipyard China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group Holdings Ltd. changes its focus to oil production instead.

“The downfall of the Chinese shipbuilding industry has become more evident,” said Park Moo Hyun, an analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities Co. in Seoul. “The drop in deliveries comes as orders are falling, even as the backlog is increasing. This means shipowners are refusing to take the vessels and shipyards are failing to meet delivery deadlines.”

Outstanding deliveries at Chinese shipyards have grown 25 percent as yards hand over fewer vessels to customers. China’s won 42 percent fewer new orders this year compared with 2013, according to Clarkson. The growth in backlog at Korean yards grew a relatively slower 13 percent.

Rongsheng, once China’s largest private shipyard, said in October it was shifting into the oil business. Meanwhile, some firms are seeking to merge under the government’s restructuring plan, with state-owned Guangzhou Shipyard International Co. last month announcing a 5.5 billion yuan ($889 million) acquisition of other shipbuilding assets.

Source from : Bloomberg