Shipping is a major cornerstone of South Korea’s economy, with four main South Korean shipyards leading the way: Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, and the newest kid on the block, STX Shipbuilding.
The largest and most successful of the South Korean shipyards, Hyundai Heavy Industries is also the largest shipbuilder in the world. They build a full ten percent of all ships built in the world. Founded in 1950, the company had delivered over 1500 ships by 2008. They also built the world’s first FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) dock, named H Dock.
Samsung Heavy Industries, part of the Samsung Group, which is the largest conglomerate in both South Korea and the world, is the second largest shipbuilder in both Korea and the world. Established in 1974, they had delivered 500 ships by 2006, and their largest shipyard, Geoje Shipyard, has the world’s highest dock turnover rate. Samsung Heavy also exports shipping technology to the United States.
Daewoo Shipbuilding, the smallest of the “Big Three” South Korean shipyards, was established in 1978. Although they are not as established as either Hyundai or Samsung, they are still one of the biggest shipbuilders in the world, and they often work with Hyundai Heavy Industries in terms of ship design.
STX Shipbuilding is the world’s fourth largest shipyard. Although they are headquartered and have had a presence in South Korea for many years, the majority of their shipyards are located in Europe, making them Europe’s largest shipbuilder. It was only in 2003 that STX Shipbuilding was listed on the Korea Stock Exchange.