Construction Day celebrates overseas project orders totaling over $500 bln and looks forward to the $1 tln mark
The Federation of Construction Associations held a ceremony for the 2012 Construction Day and the celebration of Korean construction firms undertaking over $500 billion worth of construction projects overseas at Construction Hall in southern Seoul on July 2 with hundreds of construction industry leaders and related government officials led by President Lee Myung-bak in attendance.
The ceremony was more auspicious because the accumulated worth of construction projects secured by Korean construction companies overseas exceeded $500 billion on June 14, 47 years since a Korean builder won the project to build a highway in Thailand in 1965.
President Lee, in his congratulatory address at the ceremony, said securing over $500 billion in construction projects overseas was a huge gift and gave hope to all Korean people as well as to the national economy, which had suffered from many global economic crises on its path. He added that $300 billion worth of the projects have been secured since 2007, which is great momentum for the construction industry to get behind in its efforts to reach the age of $1 trillion in overseas projects in the near future.
The Chief Executive noted that what are needed to reach $1 trillion in overseas construction projects are technology reform and structural reorganization and the construction industry should be reborn as a high-tech and high value-added one with the fusion of science and technology.
Lee continued to say that Central and South America and Africa are loaded with natural resources and high potential for growth, which should be explored by Korean firms in the future, and that he hopes large construction firms will bring along small and medium builders when they work on construction projects overseas while employing many Korean technologists.
Chairman Choi Sam-kyu of the Federation of Construction Associations in his congratulatory speech said, “We, the construction people, will continue to do our best to bring the age of $1 trillion in secured overseas construction projects close. The construction companies should be able to see the domestic construction market recover from the doldrums, which have continued for five years, as soon as possible. What we need at this stage are government support in terms of the easing of irrational regulations and measures to invigorate the industry.
He said, “We need more professional workers for our construction firms operating overseas at this juncture when the accumulated construction projects won by Korean builders overseas jumped above $500 billion as of June 14, with $300 billion of those projects clinched in the past five years, an encouraging sign that the age of $1 trillion in overseas projects won by Korean builders will not be too far off.
“We need a system to train manpower for overseas construction projects and increased financing support at the government level,” the chairman said.
Regarding the domestic construction market, Choi said the market has been in the doldrums for the past five years since the global financial crisis took hold. The situation is so bad, he said, around 25 percent of construction firms have had a hard time paying interest on their loans and about 40 percent of them can only secure 1 billion won worth of construction projects annually.
During the ceremony, a total of 156 executives for the construction firms got medals and citations from the government in recognition of their contributions to the development of the construction industry in Korea. Vice Chairman Kim Yoon of Daelim Industrial Co. won the Industrial Merit Gold Medal for his long and distinguished service in the industry along with President Shin Hung-kyun of Daejong Ace Construction Co. The silver medal winners included President Sung Woo-jong of Dowon E&C and President Lee Sung-hong of Hapdong Construction. President Han Sang-nam of Jun Construction Co. won the Industrial Merit Bronze Medal. President Hwang Kwang-yon of Inkwang E&C won the Industrial Merit Iron Medal.