By Nam Kwang-sik
SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's midsized shipbuilders, including Hanjin Heavy Industries Co., saw a sharp fall in new orders in the first half of the year due to the spread of COVID-19, a report showed Thursday.
According to the report released by the Korea Eximbank Overseas Economic Research Institute, the shipbuilders won orders of a combined six tankers, or 157,000 compensated gross tons (CGTs), down 39 percent in the January-June period from a year earlier.
The fall in new orders was blamed on the market slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the report said.
As of the end of the first half, the midsized shipbuilders have an order backlog of 38 ships, or 84.2 CGTs, down 14.8 percent from a quarter earlier due to decreasing new orders.
The report said the midsized shipbuilders refer to shipbuilding companies that build 100-meter-long and 10,000-deadweight-ton (DWT) commercial vessels.
DWTs are a measure of the combined weight of cargo, fuel, fresh water, ballast water, provisions, passengers and crew that a ship can carry.
Battered by the 2008 global financial crisis, the number of local midsized shipbuilders in operation shrank to seven in 2020 from nearly 15.
The midsized shipbuilders in operation include Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Daehan Shipbuilding Co., Daesun Shipbuilding Engineering Co., STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co., Hanjin Heavy, Korea Yanase Co. and Yeunsoo Heavy Industries Co.
Among seven midsized shipbuilders, three -- Hanjin Heavy, Daesun Shipbuilding and STX Offshore -- have been put up for sale but have failed to find buyers.
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