Mainland yard may get Korean help with order

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 May, 1999, 12:00am

South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries may help the mainland's Dalian shipyard build five very large crude carriers (VLCCs).

National Iranian Tanker recently ordered the carriers and as the same company has also ordered five similar sized vessels from Hyundai, the Korean firm is considering providing its designs to Dalian.

'The National Iranian Tanker Co had ordered the five VLCCs from Dalian shipyard at a cost of more than US$350 million,' an industry source said.

The price charged by the shipyard was about HK$40 million less than the price of building the vessels in Europe, the source said.

Hyundai is believed to have charged a slightly higher price than Dalian, because of its experience in the field and the quality of its product.

The 10 VLCCs will have a total of three million deadweight tonnes (dwt).

'Chinese shipyards would be able to compete with the Japanese and Korean shipyards if they changed their present economic and social system,' Hyundai executive Y. K. Suh said.

He said the mainland had plenty of cheap labour and if the workers were given good incentives, they would increase their productivity and efficiency.

However, close supervision was also needed to ensure quality workmanship.

Mr Suh said Hyundai paid its workers salaries plus bonuses of between 200 and 700 per cent, depending on their performance.

Mainland shipyards were becoming competitive in building small gas carriers, chemical carriers and all kinds of tankers, he said.

The shipyards last year built vessels totalling about 2.2 million dwt.

'China is now building VLCCs and in the next century may become a major player of big ships,' Mr Suh said.

But he said mainland shipbuilders were now building on a trial and error basis.

Unlike other shipyards, Hyundai had its own research and development department with about 500 designers working on their own designs.

Meanwhile, an equal number of employees worked on designs provided by clients.

Mr Suh said the largest ships built so far by Hyundai were 6,500 teu (20-ft equivalent unit) vessels.

The company was already preparing designs for the mega ships of the future, such as 8,000, 9,000 and 10,000 teu vessels, he said.