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Shipping and shipbuilding to face ‘challenging’ 2015: Korean Register

Shipping and shipbuilding to face ‘challenging’ 2015: Korean Register
The shipping and shipbuilding sectors are expected to face another challenging year in 2015, with tonnage oversupply continuing and newbuilding prices staying low, according to B.S. Park, chairman and ceo of Korean Register (KR).

The oversupply problems have yet to be resolved in the dry bulk carrier and oil tanker sectors, while the shipbuilding industry will see weak newbuilding prices, Park pointed out.

“The shipbuilding industry will experience fierce competition between Korean, Chinese and Japanese yards within a depressed newbuilding price environment encouraged by China and the resurgence of Japanese shipbuilding fuelled by a weak Japanese yen,” Park told Seatrade Global.

“Depressed oil prices will also lead to a reduced investment in eco-ships resulting in a further loss of newbuilding orders,” he believed.

“In this sluggish market, it is inevitable that class is also affected. However, the shipping cycles are well-known to us and we have positioned ourselves to support our customers and to maintain safety in high and low markets,” he added.

In view of the current trend by carriers to build larger containerships, KR has been working to develop and supplement its relevant technologies and class rules to ensure the safety of these giant ships.

In general, containerships suffer from an inherent structural weakness due to the huge empty space in the middle of the hull, compared to other vessel types.

“We are actively considering supplementing our structural rules related to whipping, springing, steel thickness and etc. Taking steel thickness as an example, an 18,000 teu containership would usually use steel that is 70-80 mm. However, for a bigger containership we need investigate if this needs to be increased to maintain production quality and prevent welding and cracking issues,” Park explained.

“The influx of these large vessels has encouraged us to cooperate further with shipyards to help them build mega ships that are energy efficient, cost effective and safe.”