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Why Is The Global Shipbuilding Business Struggling?

There's news this week that shipbuilder STX Finland will close what it describes as "the world's leading ferry builder," a yard where the company also built small cruise ships, icebreakers and naval craft.

The company blamed economic conditions for the closure of the Rauma Shipyard. Work from there will be shifted to the company's facility in Turku. About 700 people will lose their jobs.
"The anticipated volume of future demand is not enough to sustain two shipyards at STX Finland," the company said in a statement. "The Turku Shipyard is able to build all types of vessels. The restructuring will not limit the company's offering or reduce the volume of its operations."

A Global Problem
The troubles at STX Finland mirror much of what's happening in the global shipbuilding industry.

The company is a subsidiary of South Korea's STX PanOcean, which itself filed for bankruptcy in June. At the time, the company said a "combination of a sharp decline in freight rates, a delayed industry recovery, oversupply of ships due to an increased production at Chinese shipyards and higher fuel costs drove up debt and squeezed margins."

The problems aren't confined to South Korea, the world's second-largest shipbuilder.

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