nonstop: The competition in shipbuilding is growing. Where do you see the “unique selling point” of Korean shipyards and what is the strategy to keep up with competition? Kang: I think that the biggest strength of Korean shipyards is their ability to deliver products that meet different needs of the ship owners in a timely manner. This is possible be- cause local shipyards have thousands of designers at hand and employees have a strong sense of responsibility for their duties. nonstop: What contribution can classification societies make to the Korean maritime industry? Kang: Classification societies serve to make ships safer through standardization of shipbuilding-related technolo- gies and stability tests. This is a common goal they share
MINISTRY OF KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY (MKE)
The objective of the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) is to transform the nation’s economy into a knowledge- based economy, combining traditional goods and services with the benefits derived from enhanced research and innovation efforts. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy was created as recently as 2008 to enable the country to “meet new chal- lenges of the 21st century”, as its website says. The MKE is responsible for the real economy. It was formed by merging the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Finance and Economy and elements of the Ministry of Information and Communica-
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SHIP BUILDING | MARITIME SERVICES
PROFILE: KANG GYOUNG-TAEK
Mr Kang Gyoung-Taek (35) has been working for the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy since 2004 where he is in charge of the national maritime industries. He graduated from Seoul National University with a degree in naval archi- tecture in 2000. Before assuming his current position, Mr. Kang worked at the Korean Intellectual Property Office for three years.
with shipyards. We hope that joint research and develop- ment projects between classification societies and ship- yards will help find a faster and easier way to achieve this common goal. nonstop: Compared to Europe, in what ways will Asia in- crease its influence in putting forward its views on inter- national shipping matters such as goal-based standards, ship recycling, air pollution and ballast water treatment systems? Kang: Asian shipbuilders have a global shipbuilding market share in excess of 85 per cent. I think that in the course of dis- cussing and establishing ship-related rules at the IMO, the voices of Asian shipyards should be given full consideration. Giving emphasis to this cause, Korea hosted the 2nd Asian Shipbuilding Experts’ Forum meeting in November 2008. The Korean government is ready to provide positive support for these kinds of activities of private-sector experts. nonstop: What are your goals for your term of office? Kang: For the past several years, Korea has been the leading shipbuilding nation in terms of orders received, shipbuild- ing performance and remaining orders. But, as Europe and Japan did in the past, the time might come for Korea to step down from its leadership position.
I am striving to figure out what Korea’s shipbuilding industry should be like when domestic shipyards, which are global market leaders today, will no longer be able to make ships at the current scale. During my term of office, I would like to devote my efforts to setting an ultimate goal for the development of Korea’s shipbuilding industry, and
to laying a foundation for achieving that goal.