From Hudong Zhonghua‘s single to five shipyards “competing”, from a few ships a year to more than half a year of nearly 30 orders, as the delivery schedule of LNG ships from South Korean shipbuilding is full; the former loyalty South Korean, European shipowners have begun to turn to Chinese shipyards to place orders, and the rapid rise of Chinese shipyards in the field of LNG Carrier and their ability to grab orders has finally made the once “carefree” Korean shipbuilding industry feel huge pressure.
Dynagas orders up to four 200,000m3 LNG carriers, will DSIC take orders?
According to trade wind news, Greek shipowner Dynagas is about to sign a letter of intent for the construction of 2+2 200,000cbm ultra-large LNG carriers with DSIC. The company will cooperate with a Chinese leasing company to complete the order. It is expected that the new ship will be completed in 2026. Evening or 2027 delivery.
Clarksons data shows that the current offer for a 174,000cbm LNG carrier has risen to $242 million. It is said that the price of LNG ships provided by Chinese shipbuilding is about $235 million US dollars, but the size of the new ships ordered by Dynagas reaches 200,000 cubic meters, so the cost will increase.
Like South Korean shipbuilding, Chinese shipbuilding is also increasingly tight in the delivery of LNG ships, so it is not ruled out that Chinese shipbuilding’s quotations may be raised. However, considering that the Dynagas contract is expected to be the first LNG ship export order for DSIC, this may give shipowners a little room for negotiation.
Dynagas had previously ordered a total of nine 200,000cbm LNG carriers with Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, two of which have been delivered and seven are under construction and scheduled to be delivered between 2023 and 2025. According to Clarkson‘s data, the company currently operates 13 ships in its fleet. Except for 2 LNG floating storage and regasification units (FSRU) built by Hudong Zhonghua, the remaining 11 large LNG carriers are all built by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries Group and Daewoo Shipbuilding Construction.
If the Dynagas order is finalized, it will not only be the first LNG ship export contract of DSIC, but also the largest LNG ship built by DSIC and even China’s shipbuilding industry. Previously, Hudong Zhonghua, the only Chinese company with experience in delivering large-scale LNG ships, built mostly 174,000cbm of LNG ships.
According to the International Shipbuilding Network, in March this year, DSIC signed a construction contract for 2+2 large-scale LNG ships of 175,000 cubic meters with China Merchants Shipbuilding, becoming the third company in China to receive orders for large-scale LNG ships after Hudong Zhonghua and Jiangnan Shipbuilding.
In recent years, DSIC has made every effort to enter the LNG ship market, and has completed the research and development of large-scale LNG ships, including the research and development of ship types, construction and testing technology, engineering management technology, and simulation tank construction technology, and has fully mastered the research and development and design of large-scale LNG ships and the construction of real ships. The advanced technology and management technology have laid a solid foundation for undertaking large-scale LNG carriers.
Over the years, DSIC has joined hands with GTT and a number of classification societies, through continuous research and development and optimization, based on NO.96 and MARK III technologies, respectively, and has completed the research and development of multi-type products such as 140,000cbm, 150,000cbm, and 210,000cbm have been recognized by GTT and classification societies. At the same time, DSIC has also successfully completed the construction of the world’s largest NO.96 LNG carrier simulation cabin and the world’s first fully enclosed MARK III LNG carrier mock-up tank, which has won the approval of GTT and the world’s mainstream classification societies.
The rapid rise of Chinese shipbuilding enterprises! South Korean shipping companies: not yet to the point of concern
Dynagas is not the first European shipowner to switch to China. Earlier it was reported that, due to the difficulty of Korean ship companies to provide suitable delivery schedules, Danish shipowner Celsius Tankers is negotiating with Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and China Merchants Industry, hoping to order as many as 10-12 large LNG ships. Since Celsius Tankers entered the LNG carrier market in 2018, all 13 large LNG carriers ordered were built by Samsung Heavy Industries of South Korea.
Korean shipbuilders said that in addition to earlier delivery times, Chinese shipbuilders are also price-competitive, with the price per vessel 15-20% lower than that of South Korea. Against this background, European shipowners who had been booking ships in South Korea are now moving to China. At present, Chinese shipbuilding companies have received orders for nearly 30 LNG ships this year, of which 26 are large LNG ships, which has exceeded the 14 orders received by China for LNG ships in the whole of last year, and the gap between China and South Korea is greatly narrowing.
In this regard, the Korean industry believes that due to the large gap in technical strength between China and South Korea, it is not yet to the extent of worrying about China’s pursuit. An analysis of Korean shipbuilding and marine-related person, the secondary holding company of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group in charge of shipbuilding business, said: “The LNG ship market is already very good, so Chinese shipyards have also received orders, but China’s construction experience is less, and it has not reached the level of concern.”
However, some people in the Korean industry believe that if the construction record of Chinese shipbuilding companies gradually accumulates, the competitiveness may also increase, so it should be considered not to let South Korea lose its dominance in the LNG ship market. Some Korean experts believe: “By 2030, the quality and performance of Chinese-built LNG carriers may be recognized by the market.”
Thanks to the large number of LNG ship orders released by the Qatar LNG project, the number of LNG ship orders in the world so far this year has reached 124, which is also the highest level in the same period since Clarkson counted the number of LNG ship orders in 2000. Among them, as many as 120 are large LNG ships of 174,000cbm and above. According to Clarkson‘s data, South Korea’s three major shipbuilding have received orders for 94 large LNG carriers this year, including 38 from Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, 28 from Daewoo Shipbuilding, and 28 from Samsung Heavy Industries. It is worth mentioning that about half of the 94 orders came from Qatar’s “Hundred Ships Plan”.
At present, the shipyards of the three major Korean shipbuilding are full. For ship owners, even if they sign LNG ship construction contracts with Korean shipbuilding, they will not be delivered until 4-5 years later. According to a senior executive of a Korean shipbuilding, more than 10 shipowners are currently waiting for the release of LNG ship slots in 2026, and how coordinating the order of orders is the main problem facing Korean shipbuilding.
In addition, under the current situation that decarbonization has become a global trend and international geopolitical turmoil, orders for LNG ships are expected to continue to increase. The Korea Export-Import Bank (KEXIM), based on the “New Momentum” plan recently released by the multinational energy company BP, predicts that the global LNG trading volume will increase by 4.3% annually until 2035. In 2030, the number of new ship orders for LNG ships in the world will continue to maintain a high level. This also means that Chinese shipyards are expected to receive more orders in the future, and the competition between the Chinese and Korean shipbuilding industries in the field of LNG ships will become more intense.
多年来，大船集团携手GTT和多家船级社，通过持续不断的研发和优化，分别基于NO.96和MARK III技术，已经完成14万立方米、15万立方米、17.5万立方米和 21万立方米等多型产品研发，得到了GTT和船级社方面的认可。与此同时，大船集团还先后完成了世界最大NO.96型LNG船模拟舱和全球首个全封闭式MARK III型LNG运输船模拟舱的建造，得到法国GTT专利公司以及全球主流船级社的认证。
Dynagas并不是首家转投中国的欧洲船东。此前有消息称，由于韩国船企难以提供合适的交付船期，丹麦船东Celsius Tankers正在与扬子江船业和招商工业进行谈判，希望订造多达10-12艘大型LNG船。Celsius Tankers自2018年进军LNG船市场以来，所订造的13艘大型LNG船全部由韩国三星重工建造。