Almost overnight, South Korea has become the eleventh biggest shipbuilder in the world, and could move up the rank to seventh place.
Almost overnight, South Korea has become the eleventh biggest shipbuilder in the world, and could move up the rank to seventh place. The success is largely owed to the Hyundai Construction Company, which diversified into shipbuilding just over a year ago, despite predictions that the venture would be a disaster.
Starting without technology and a skilled labour force at its new Ulsan yards, Hyundai delivered its first supertanker within thirteen months, and began work on three more. Japan -- which refused financial aid at the outset -- has ordered two supertankers from Hyundai, which is now expanding to build one-million-ton tankers.
Government backing and the heroic efforts of the workers account for Hyundai's success. While the newly-christened 230,000 ton Pan Asia Courage was under construction, the labour force worked eight months, including sundays and holidays, for about half the wage earned by Japanese shipbuilders.