SEOUL, June 9 (Yonhap)– South Korea was a distant second player after China in terms of new shipbuilding orders in the first five months of the year, data showed Tuesday.

In the January-May period, Chinese shipbuilders won new orders totaling 2.88 million compensated gross tons (CGTs) to build a total of 121 ships, accounting for 62 percent of the new orders in total, followed by South Korean shipbuilders with 900,000 CGTs, or 32 ships, according to data provided by global market researcher Clarkson Research Service.

Global new shipbuilding orders fell sharply in the January-May period for the past three years, coming in at 15.82 million CGTs in 2018, 12.17 million CGTs in 2019 and 4.69 million CGTs in 2020.’

In May alone, Chinese shipbuilders clinched 270,000 CGTs in order to construct 13 ships, trailed by South Korean shipbuilders with 230,000 CGTs, or 8 ships, and Japanese shipbuilders with 50,000 CGTs, or 2 ships, the data showed.

In May, global new orders came to 570,000 CGTs, or 27 ships, down 60 percent from 1.41 million CGTs a month earlier

The Chinese shipbuilders’ advance in winning new orders was attributed to a rise in new orders in China.

In terms of order backlog, which keep them busy for two or three years, Chinese shipbuilders had 26.24 million CGTs as of May, taking up 36 percent of the total, followed by South Korean shipbuilders with 20.22 million CGTs and Japanese shipbuilders with 10.24 million CGTs, the data showed.