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China passes South Korea in 2007 in new ship orders

China passes South Korea in 2007 in new ship orders

London: China surpassed South Korea to become the world's biggest shipbuilder by new orders in 2007, according to data compiled by Clarkson Plc, the world's largest shipbroker. Chinese shipbuilders booked orders for 103.6 million deadweight tons of ships, compared with South Korea's 94.8 million, according to data from London-based Clarksons. Shipyards in China booked orders at historically high prices last year, more than tripling order backlogs at the nation's shipyards. Demand for vessels to carry Chinese imports of raw materials and exports of consumer goods is fueling earnings growth at shipbuilders including China State Shipbuilding Co., the nation's biggest.

The nation remained behind South Korea in new orders measured by compensated gross tons. Deadweight tonnage measures a finished ship's carrying capacity and doesn't reflect the cost of building a vessel or its sale price. Compensated gross tonnage is a measure that accounts for ship size and the time required and materials used for production.

China booked 29.2 million gross compensated tons of new orders last year, compared with South Korea's 32 million, Clarkson said.

Surging orders helped China's order backlog more than triple to 51 million compensated gross tons as South Korea's backlog doubled to 64.5 million compensated gross tons, according to Clarkson.

Japan booked about 20 percent as many new orders as China and South Korea, Clarkson said.  [14/01/08]