Last month, local shipyards secured orders totaling 735,000 compensated gross tons (CGTs), accounting more than 70% of orders placed worldwide, easily surpassing its rivals China and Japan, Xinhua news agency reported.

From January to August 2019, South Korean shipyards won orders worth 4.64 million CGTs, accounting for 34.9% of total global orders placed during this period and falling short of 5.02 million CGTs worth of orders clinched by Chinese shipbuilders.

However, South Korea was ahead of China in terms of the value of orders. The trade ministry said South Korean shipyards logged orders worth US$11.3 billion in the January-August period, $370 million more than China.

The ministry said South Korean shipbuilders’ competitive edge in building high-value ships, such as LNG carriers and very large crude carriers (VLCC), is leading the good performance.

South Korea won 24 of the 27 orders placed for LNG carriers, and 10 of the 17 orders placed for VLCCs in the January-August period, the data showed.

This comes after a downward trend for South Korean shipbuilding in the last years, as a result from global economic downturn and Chinese competition, which led to oversupply and idle workforce in the domestic industry.

However, this was reversed in 2019, when South Korean shipyards, for the first time after seven years, surpassed China and took the lead on shipbuilding orders.