South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has revealed plans to buy nearly 200 ships over the next three years with an aim to revive the country’s struggling shipping and shipbuilding industry.
The industry is currently going through a rough patch since Hanjin Shipping’s bankruptcy in 2016.
The newly unveiled plan is part of the Ministry’s mid-term restructuring effort and will involve the construction of 140 bulk carriers and 60 container ships.
It will include 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) mega vessels in addition to eight 140,000 TEU ships.
South Korea Oceans and Fisheries Minister Kim Young-choon was quoted by yonhapnews.co.kr as saying: “Following the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping, sales of South Korea’s shipping industry were cut by over KRW10tn ($9.4bn), and the tonnage of the deep sea containers has been cut in half.
“We have prepared a set of comprehensive measures to support the shipping and shipbuilding industries grappling with a protracted slump, intense competition and environmental regulations.”
In July, the Ministry has revealed it intends to form a maritime industry promotion agency to oversee the ordering of the new ships through either investment or guaranteeing the ship purchase programme.
By ordering the new ships, the Ministry also aims to increase major ocean-going shipping company Hyundai Merchant’s shipping capacity from the current 330,000 TEU to one million TEU by 2020.
South Korea will focus on the development of eco-friendly and energy-efficiency containerships to meet the International Maritime Organization’s new sulphur limit on bunkers, which is expected to come into force in 2020.
The Ministry also plans to sell Daewoo Shipbuilding to reform the country’s shipbuilding industry.
The company, which received a KRW2.9tn ($2.6bn) government loan in March last year to survive bankruptcy, is currently going through a workout programme led by the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB).