South Korea’s three largest shipbuilders will continue intensive downsizing programs this year, cutting payrolls further and selling additional assets to regain global competitiveness amid a deep recession across the industry.
The shipbuilders aim to jettison assets worth more than 4 trillion won ($344 million) by the end of this year, while raising a new order target by three times from what they earned last year.
That’s according to this year’s action plan for shipbuilding industry reinforcement announced by the government on Wednesday. The big three shipbuilders laid out a 10.3 trillion won self-rescue plan a year ago and 60 percent of it has already been achieved. If the downsizing measures are carried out as planned, the shipbuilders will implement more than 80 percent of their action programs by the end of this year.
Last year Hyundai Heavy Industries, Korea’s largest shipbuilder, scaled down its asset by 2 trillion won, while Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering cut its asset by 1.6 trillion won and Samsung Heavy Industries by 600 billion won.
The shipbuilders plan to cut 14,000 more jobs through early retirement and spinoff programs this year after shedding some 7,000 employees last year. The number of employees hired directly by the shipbuilders would be lowered to 39,000 this year from 53,000.
They will also shutter three more docks this year to operate only 25 this year. Hyundai Heavy Industries will stop operations of two more docks this year, and Samsung Heavy Industries will sell off one floating dock.