SEOUL, May 15 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s shipbuilding industry is showing signs of recovery after years of struggling with the global downturn, a senior financial regulator said Tuesday.
Yoo Kwang-yeol, first senior deputy governor of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), urged shipbuilders to turn to high-end vessels, such as very large crude carriers, for business opportunities.
Yoo made the remarks at an annual conference for maritime finance in the southern port city of Busan.
“Warmth is coming into South Korea as global orders for new ships are on a steady rise,” Yoo said in a speech during the forum, according to a statement released by the FSS.
Hit by low oil prices and a supply glut, South Korea’s shipbuilders have been struggling with heavy debts and declining orders for years. Creditors threw a multi-billion-dollar lifeline to rescue Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. last year.
In July, the government will launch the Korea Ocean Business Corp. to create synergies in marine finance, Yoo said.
New technologies, including autonomous navigation systems and unmanned cargo ships, are expected to provide a chance for South Korea’s shipbuilders to make a turnaround, Yoo said.
“Busan needs to effectively use marine finance infrastructure, as well as ensure its stronger presence as a marine finance hub city by focusing on paradigm changes in the industry,” Yoo said.
Separately, Choi Jong-ku, chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), held a meeting with experts from the shipbuilding industry on Tuesday with participants echoing the view that South Korea’s orders for new ships are on a modest recovery path, the FSC said in a statement.
Citing data from market researcher Clarkson, they said South Korean shipyards won orders equal to 3.23 million compensated gross tons (CGTs), up 96 percent from a year ago.
However, Choi told the meeting that restructuring efforts should continue to overhaul the shipbuilding sector, according to the statement.