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South Korea’s bumper orderbook, tricky production schedule and difficult domestic demographics have been partially resolved with an agreement hatched with Thailand whereby 3,000 Thai welders and mechanical technicians will be sent to South Korea’s five largest shipyards.

South Korea has been tinkering with its visa system over the last couple of years, seeking workers from across Southeast Asia, and even as far as landlocked Nepal, to help with the nation’s huge raft of contracted newbuilds.

Following a decade of declining shipbuilding fortunes after the global financial crisis, the available domestic workforce had diminished making it very difficult for the country’s top yards to stick with their onerous delivery schedules, with orders now backing up till late into the 2020s of very large, high spec vessel types.

According to a recent report from Danish Ship Finance, yard utilisation in South Korea averaged 53% in 2022, increased to to 78% in 2023 and is expected to hit 107% this year.

Source : Maasmond Maritime / Sam Chambers  Splash 247