South Korea retained its No. 1 ranking in the global shipbuilding industry in terms of new orders, order backlogs and volume of vessels built in 2008, according to a London-based market researcher Thursday.
The nation's shipbuilders such as Hyundai Heavy Industries won a combined 17.5 million compensated gross tons (CGTs) in new orders last year, accounting for 41.1 percent of all global new orders, Yonhap News reported quoting Clarkson Plc.
Consequently, South Korea has maintained the top spot in terms of new orders since 2003.
Chinese shipbuilders took the second spot with orders totaling 14.9 million CGTs last year, outpacing Japanese rivals which won a combined 4.89 million CGTs.
Clarkson said South Korean shipbuilders' combined order backlogs totaled 67.7 million CGTs, making up nearly 35.8 percent of 189.2 million CGTs in global backlogs. China followed with 60.73 million CGTs.
South Korea, home to seven of the world's top 10 shipyards, has clinched record-high orders in the past few years because of strong demand for crude carriers and offshore exploration equipment amid lofty oil prices.
But new shipbuilding orders worldwide fell 52 percent last year, hit by a global economic crisis. The orders which South Korean shipbuilders won also fell 47 percent last year.
By shipbuilder, Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's largest shipyard, had 12.93 million CGTs in order backlogs, trailed by Samsung Heavy Industries with 10.43 million CGTs and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering with 9.98 million CGTs.