|▲ Kyung Dong FRP Dockyard / CEO Song Myeong-su|
Once nearby taken over by Chinese counterpart, South Korean shipbuilding industry has taken its glory back again by receiving tremendous orders from overseas. According a Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry report in 2020, South Korea has secured 8.19 million CGT (42.6%) out of the total 19.24 CGT (Compansated Gross Tonage) in the world.
As a result, South Korea has kept the No.1 status for three years in a row since 2018. The orders received last year alone was 18.3 billion USD. While big shipbuilders are leading LNG and VLCC, FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastics) are rather led by relatively small shipbuilder: Kyung Dong FRP Dockyard. PowerKorea sat down with CEO Song Myeong-su and learned about the industry.
Specialized in FRP ships, Kyung Dong FRP Dockyard covers from 1 ton to 9.77 tons. FRP is highly durable, joltproof and light weight which makes the shipbuilder’s job relatively easy. FRP ships hold more loads than wooden or steel ships and costs 15% less than steel and 25~30% less than wooden when it comes to maintenance. For this reason, FRP is widely used for small boats and yachts.
Having 20 years of expertise in the field, CEO Song and his team are building various sizes and tons of boats to meet the market demands. The company made a strong presence by building the South Korea’s first high functional boat loaded with 2 engines that creates 350 horsepower. Taking the momentum, the company has built average 50 boats a year in its dockyards in Haman County and Changwon City.
It is notable that the company boasts its own mold manufacturing technology and currently is running 13 molds that can be used for different sizes and weighs of boats from 1 ton to 10 tons. Price-wise, a ton per boat costs 20 to 25 million won (22,281 USD) which normally is 25 to 30 million won.
His name and skills spread far and wide in the field and among boat lovers, Song has received a number of prizes: Creative and Innovative Korean Award, Proud Korean Award, and Korean Future Vision Awards. He also listed his name in the 100 Great Koreans Award.
Song grew interest in FRP boats in his twenties. As his name spread in the field, he was offered a job from KumHo Shipyard. When he joined the company in February 1998, the employees were only 5. Making the most of his talent and ability, he played a crucial role to increase the number of employees to 40 within 2 years. He quit in March 2000 to run his own dockyard (Dongyang FRP) and turned the business name to current Kyung Dong FRP Dockyard in 2008.
Song is holding ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and a number of certificates relating to direct production, venture enterprise and SME. He achieved 4.1 billion won (3.6 million USD) sales in 2019 and is working with 35 employees as of March 2021. He makes donations to people in need on a regular basis to fulfil his Corporate Social Responsibility.
It is estimated that 245,000 people have boat driving license as of 2019, a 2.5 times increase for the last 10 years, thanks to South Korea’s remarkable economic growth and abundance in coastlines, beaches and islands. Predicting the ever booming market, Song currently is in a negotiation to take over another shipyard to be used as his third FRP boat manufacturing base. PowerKorea
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