SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) — South Korean shipbuilders lost their No. 1 ranking to Chinese rivals in terms of new orders in April, nine months after taking the top spot since July, industry data showed Tuesday.

South Korean shipbuilders led by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. obtained new orders of 34 ships, or 1.19 million compensated gross tons (CGTs), falling behind their Chinese rivals with 53 ships, or 1.64 million CGTs, according to the data provided by global market researcher Clarkson Research Service.

South Korean shipbuilders were trailed by Finland’s shipbuilders, which won two ships, or 80,000 CGTs.

Of a total of 98 ships, or 3.05 million CGTs, ordered across the globe in April, Chinese shipbuilders took up 54 percent, and South Korean shipbuilders accounted for 39 percent of the total.

In the period between January and April, the cumulative orders more than doubled to 15.43 million CGTs, up three times compared with 2016, when the global shipbuilding industry suffered the worst depression ever.

During the four-month period, Chinese shipbuilders bagged orders for 248 ships, or 7.05 million CGTs, and South Korean shipbuilders won orders for 171 ships, or 6.82 million CGTs. Japanese shipbuilders obtained orders for 35 ships, or 1.03 million CGTs.

By ship, orders of more than 12,000-twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU) container carriers rose more than tenfold in the first four months of the year to 108 ships, or 6.36 million CGTs, from 8 ships, or 590,000 CGTs, a year ago.

Orders of very large crude oil carriers (VLCCs) nearly tripled to 1.16 million CGTs, or 27 ships, in the period compared with 390,000 CGTs, or nine ships, a year earlier.

But orders for S-Max oil tankers and A-Max oil carriers fell more than 40 percent in the period from a year ago, with those for bulk carriers dropping 57 percent.

Global order backlogs rose by 950,000 CGTs, or 1 percent, to 76.95 million CGTs in April from March.

Chinese shipbuilders’ order backlogs reached 28.98 million CGTs, or 38 percent of the total, followed by South Korean shipbuilders with 24.72 million CGTs and Japanese shipbuilders with 8.37 million CGTs.

Compared with a year ago, South Korean shipbuilders’ order backlogs rose 16 percent, or 3.39 million CGTs, and Chinese shipbuilders’ order backlogs gained 1 percent, or 390,000 CGTs, in April, while Japanese shipbuilders fell 30 percent, or 3.5 million CGTs.

Clarkson’s Newbuilding Price Index, indicating price changes in newly built ships, was up 4 points to 134 points in April.