Polish yards losing orders to South Korea

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 April, 1999, 12:00am

Fierce competition from South Korea led to a 20 per cent decline in orders at Polish shipyards last year.

As of December 31, 54 ships had been ordered from the yards at a total value of US$1.6 billion.

The South Korean yards, unlike their Polish counterparts, have the flexibility to meet the changing structure of ships ordered.

Poland was ranked sixth in the world in numbers of ships built after the first three quarters of last year. With a market share of 3.1 per cent, it trailed Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy and China.

If the Polish yards made full use of production capacity and received appropriate orders, they could increase the value of their production each year to $2 billion without any large investment.

It would be possible for them to increase production value to $3 billion after investment in modernisation, said Jerzy Doerffer, the chairman of the Shipbuilding Employers Union Forum.

Polish yards last year built a total of 37 ships at a value of $1.4 billion. This was higher than a year earlier when the value of sold production reached $916 million, or the $880 million sold in 1996.