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Korean Shipbuilding - 1945-1970

In the 1950's, Korean shipping industry could be broadly divided into government owned shipbuilder having the characteristics of a corporation with a special status and private companies and there were a lot of private companies but there were no match for the Korea shipping corporation. 1950's were not boom days for shipping but the number of shipbuilders kept increasing and around the time of the independence day 8, 15, there were only 56 of them but in 1951, it rose to 79, and in 1959 the number of shipbuilders, machinery manufacturers and accessories manufacturers became 198. This expansion of the shipping industry was a strange phenomenon and this was due to a short boom period during the Korean War, and also because of the attitude of the people, which was nothing but shortsightedness. Therefore, implementing the shipping administration law, the government started exercising licensing.

In actuality, in the 1950's most of the transport and fishing vessels came from abroad and the establishment of a new shipping market was not possible. This was because of the tumultuous times after 8, 15 which resulted in the absence of proper management in the fisheries, lack of national capital, the outbreak of the Korean war, instability in the politics, and some other complex economic and social factors. We had to do the ship repairs in Japan or elsewhere for not having inspectors belonging to the International Ship classification Association. On top of this, other reasons were backward technology, difficulty of supplying parts and materials, delay in the construction period etc.

Korea wanted to have its economy self-sufficient and also wanted to achieve rapid growth in the 1980's and the role and contribution of the shipbuilding were crucial for the objectives at hand and the shipbuilding industries had remarkable success in the 1970's. If 1960's is considered to be the period in which the foundation for further development was laid then 1970's is the period in which shipbuilding was adopted as a promoted industry during the 5-year plan under government aid and made remarkable progress. It stared with the construction of the Ulsan shipyard of the Hyundai heavy industries and other conglomerates followed suit and began participating in the shipbuilding and that helped korea get off the backwardness in shipbuilding and grow to a large scale and came to be modernized.

In 1975, Hyundai Mipo shipping established repair facility in the Jun-Ha gulf, the maximum capacity of the facility being 700,000 DWT. In 1978, the Korea Shipping Corporation established the biggest 1st dock but it was later sold to Daewoo group, in 1977, Samsung group took charge of Ujin shipyard, completed the 1st dock in 1979. Especially, Hyundai heavy industries, with the completion of a shipyard produced 260,000-ton class VLCC (very large crude carrier), Korean shipbuilders were now in the international shipbuilding on a full-scale.

In 1976, Maritime and shipbuilding all-out plan was laid out and one of the points in it was "we build our own ship and transport our own goods" and this played a key role in the upbringing of shipbuilding industry.

Korea Tacoma shipyard was built not in line with the government's Long-term Shipbuilding Promotion Plan and the Tacoma shipyard in Masan free export zone had the production capacity of 15,000GT class, producing steel and aluminum ships and East Sea shipyard (presently Hanjin heavy industries, Ulsan shipyard) was established in Yong-jam-dong, Ulsan, with the annual production capacity of 324,000GT class and specializing in the manufacture of chemicals transporting carrier and started building steel ships from 1976.

Coming to the 1970's, due to the establishment of medium and large-scale shipyards and also the expansion of facilities of the existing shipyards, the annual production capacity rose from 190,000GT in 1972 to 2,600,000GT in 1976 and with the completion of the Okpo and Jukdo shipyards, korea became the second in the field of shipbuilding in the world.

The number of companies related to shipbuilding increased till the 1960's but due to the consolidation process, there was a decrease in the number. As far as the production capacity goes, with the completion and expansion of the Hyundai shipyard, it exceeded 1,000,000GT in 1974 and in the late 1970's it reached 2,800,000GT and as for shipbuilding quantity, it was 56GT for the manufacture of VLCC and the quantity has remained steady at 60~70GT and korea has taken a step closer to becoming one of the best shipbuilders in the world.



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