POSCO is a major supplier of quality steel to many shipbuilders around the world
including the global Big 3, helping the industry leap forward.

Steel used for shipbuilding requires special properties that allow ships to withstand the load from their hulls and cargo therein as well as other external forces that the ships might experience during their voyage. Our products intended for this industry are typically used for regular ships, naval ships and special vessels. With advances being made in technology and more trade volume, ships are getting larger and larger. Meanwhile, naval ships require weight reduction and greater performance.


Generally, there are various vessels, such as oil tankers, bulk carriers, container ships and LNG carriers, and with the development of technology, the increase in shipments requires ships to be large and operate safely in harsh marine environments, such as rough waves and strong winds, and thus must meet strict requirements such as high strength, CTOD(Crack Tip Opening Displacement) and BCA(Brittle Crack Arrest). POSCO supplies world top premium steel, including steel plate for low temperature pressure vessels, 9% Ni steel, high manganese steel, steel plate for shipbuilding and stainless steel.

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Steel Plate for Shipbuilding Austenitic Series(300 Series)

Construction Application Technology

POSCO-made K-STEEL Part 2. POSCO’s Specialized Steel for Marine Environments, POSEIDON500
Providing satisfaction to customers with high-quality products and eco-friendly steel solutions and striving to reduce CO2 emissions! Experts introduce POSCO’s new steel sheet products.
Chang-young Son, Senior researcher
(POSCO Construction Steel Materials Solution Group)

POSCO’s POSEIDON500, a specialized steel solution to combat corrosion in marine environments

In the past two years, POSCO has developed a novel construction technique using POSEIDON500, steel specially designed for high salt resistance, to enhance the durability and cost efficiency of port structures. Seawater contains salt, which corrodes steel more rapidly than other environments. In particular, the splash zone, the area immediately above and below the mean water level, faces direct exposure to seawater due to wave action. This exposure, coupled with an increased supply of oxygen, leads to a significantly higher rate of corrosion.POSCO developed a specialized steel, POSEIDON500, to address and mitigate corrosion issues in marine environments. This steel has improved resistance to corrosion in the splash zone by more than 40% compared to conventional structural steel and contains just 1% of costly alloying elements such as chromium (Cr), which makes it a more cost-effective alternative to stainless steel.The company has also reduced material cost by 10-15% with construction methods considering the material characteristics of specialized steel. Based on these strengths, the company plans to supply 20,000 tons of steel for LNG terminal construction projects in the latter half of 2023, and an additional 20,000 tons for quay and shore protection structures in 2025.

Improved customer satisfaction with high-performance, cost-efficient steel and tailored structural solutions

POSCO’s specialized steel for port and offshore structures is highly acclaimed in the market due to the company’s customer-focused and economically efficient research and development approach from the initial stage of steel development to its application in structures. Stainless steel is widely recognized as having excellent corrosion resistance, but it is costly due to its composition, which includes expensive alloying elements such as nickel (Ni) and a high chromium (Cr) content of 12% or more.The use of stainless steel for structures that require a large amount of steel, such as harbor steel piles, is not cost-effective due to its high price, leading to a demand for more affordable materials.POSCO took note of this and designed its steel with a low-cost component of approximately 1% chromium (Cr). POSEIDON500 was developed with a corrosion resistance of 40% or more in the splash zone compared to typical structural steel. When it is exposed to seawater, a layer of chromium oxide forms on its surface to inhibit corrosion.Japanese steelmakers have also developed seawater corrosion-resistant steel that has a yield strength of 240 ㎫ and applied it to ships and plants. In contrast, POSCO’s offshore structural steel has the world’s highest yield strength of 380 ㎫ and tensile strength of 590 ㎫. Furthermore, POSCO provides customized structural solutions that consider the actual conditions in which steel will be used, leading to a high level of satisfaction among domestic customers.

POSEIDON500 outperforms low-cost imports and has completed a successful 5-year verification of its resistance to seawater corrosion

Before the development of POSEIDON500, which began in 2010, STP275 and STP355 were the primary materials used for port steel piles, and this was mainly low-cost hot rolled steel imported into Korea in large volumes. In response to the influx of low-cost imported steel, POSCO actively sought input from key stakeholders, including port-related clients, builders, and designers, to better understand their needs and perspectives. After considering various viewpoints, POSCO recognized that the low-cost imported steel fell short of customer expectations in terms of corrosion resistance and strength. Consequently, its research team began developing steel that would better fulfill these requirements.At that time, Japan also developed seawater corrosion-resistant steel with a yield strength of 245 ㎫. However, its high cost hindered its application in port structures. So, its use was primarily confined to seawater piping in the shipbuilding industry. POSCO concluded that by enhancing the yield strength to 380㎫ and boosting corrosion resistance by 40%, it could achieve economic viability. Consequently, the company concentrated its efforts on research and development to realize these improvements.This research began with uncertainty and was gradually fulfilled with twists and turns. At that time, POSCO aimed to release the steel as fast as possible by limiting its corrosion performance verification to just a basic indoor accelerated corrosion test. However, the company faced significant resistance in the process of registering KS standards and the design standards of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries from officials who demanded extensive, long-term corrosion resistance performance verification results for more than two years.It was a critical challenge that threatened to bring the development process to a halt. But POSCO realized that the tough verification process could actually act as a shield to effectively control the influx of imported products into the country. This moment marked the turning point where a crisis was transformed into an opportunity for the creation of specialized steel.Following a year of detailed planning, the company placed long-term corrosion test samples in the splash zone, tidal zone, and underwater zone in Sihwa, Gwangyang, and Pohang, representing the West, South, and East Seas, respectively. These samples were monitored for five years to rigorously assess their seawater corrosion performance. Based on this, POSCO went through all required procedures to enter the market by achieving registration of their steel with the KS standard in 2013 and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries’ harbor and port design standard in 2015.

POSEIDON500, spearheading advancements in port technology by expanding the scope of application

▲Cases of application to ports and marine structures.After developing the steel, POSCO expanded its scope of application by innovating new construction methods for port structures. It has also expanded the scope of application by port structure type. It was first applied to steel pipe piles at Pohang New Port in 2016, followed by domestic piers,* coal-fired port facilities such as jetty steel pipe piles at the import/export pier of Shinseocheon Thermal Power Plant in 2019, the jacket structure at the Jinhae Submarine Base in 2020, marine bridge foundation of the Gwangyang dredged soil dump site in 2023, and the jetty** jacket structure and steel pipe piles at Gwangyang LNG Terminal 2 in 2023.In particular, the company developed and supplied POSEIDON500 steel plates for the jacket structure as well as steel pipe piles at the Jinhae Submarine Base. Accordingly, POSCO plans to supply POSEIDON500 hot rolled steel and steel plates for both the steel pipe piles and jacket structures at Gwangyang LNG Terminal 2. In 2023, in collaboration with specialized builders and designers, POSCO intends to develop “walled steel pipe piles” designed for use in quay walls and shore protection that are expected to be applied in earnest starting from 2024.While seawater corrosion-resistant steel such as POSEIDON500 has generally been confined to specific uses such as seawater pipes in shipbuilding and harbor sheet piles globally, POSEIDON500 is at the forefront of port technology innovation and is finding unique applications in key structural elements of harbors such as steel pipe piles and jacket structures.*Pier: a docking facility created by placing steel pipe piles adjacent to land and then covering them with a concrete slab**Jetty: a docking facility supported by piles that extends out from the land and is advantageous for larger vessels such as coal or LNG carriers[POSCO-Made K-Steel Series]Part 1 : POSCO’s antiviral color steel sheets for buildings and home appliances POSCOPOSEIDON500steel
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POSCO-made K-STEEL Part 2. POSCO’s Specialized Steel for Marine Environments, POSEIDON500
With the Eco-friendly LNG-powered Vessel, POSCO Is All Ready to Set Sail!
At a shipyard in Mokpo on December 11 2020, a ship naming ceremony was held for two vessels that received the name of “HL ECO” and “HL Green”. Both vessels, able to carry up to 180,000 tons, are the world’s first LNG-powered bulk carriers, as well as eco-friendly carriers that POSCO has preemptively introduced to replace conventional ones. POSCO’s 9% nickel steel was applied as materials for the fuel tanks of the vessels, whereas 42,000 tons of POSCO steel plates were used in the bodies. The ships, HL ECO and HL Green, will transport iron ore and coal to steelworks, traveling between Korea and Australia.▲ A photo of HL Green (left) and HL ECO (right), the world’s first LNG-powered bulk carriers that POSCO has introduced as an eco-friendly raw material carrier★ What is an LNG-powered bulk carrier?Identifying car models according to fuel type or purpose isn’t a difficult task, but classifying ships is somewhat unfamiliar. Especially when Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is included in the ship’s name, it becomes more confusing — since LNG can be transported onboard the vessels and be used as fuel to power them as well. To better understand LNG vessels, let’s take a look at the following question.Q. Choose the incorrect statement from the following regarding LNG vessels.ⓛ LNG Carrier – a vessel that transports methane (CH4), the main component of LNG, in gas form② LNG-powered Vessel – a ship that utilizes LNG as fuel③ LNG-powered Container Ship – A freight vessel that carries cargo in containers and uses LNG as fuel④ LNG-powered Bulk Carrier – A freight vessel that transport cargo as it is and uses LNG as fuel(Major cargo includes ore, coal, grain, etc.)※ AnswerLNG is made by liquefying natural gas mainly containing methane (CH4) for storage and transporting. When it is cooled to -162℃ and liquefied, the volume is compressed to 1/600, so LNG shipping is more convenient in liquid than gas. Therefore, the incorrect statement would be ⓛ.

l The Advent of the Golden Age of Gas

In 2019, the global demand for LNG reached 359 million tons, a 12.5% increase compared to 2018. U.S. oil and gas company Shell also forecasts that LNG demand will increase to 700 million tons in 2040. The keyword driving demand for LNG is “eco-friendly”. Especially starting from this year, vessels that do not meet the regulations of the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) will not be able to enter the port of a member state. Therefore, just as electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles are in the spotlight of the automotive industry, eco-friendly ships, such as LNG-powered vessels, are receiving the limelight in the shipbuilding industry.According to a report issued in August 2020 by the POSCO Research Institute (POSRI), the shipbuilding scale of LNG-powered vessels is expected to expand from 20 trillion KRW in 2020 to 130 trillion KRW within five years, an increase by more than six times. The report also stated that ships to be ordered by 2029 are 2,500 to 3,000, and by 2030, it is estimated that 60% of the ships built in Korea will be LNG-powered vessels. Ten years have passed since the International Energy Agency (IEA) first mentioned the “Golden Age of Gas” in its annual report, and it is becoming reality in the forthcoming low carbon age.

l Why Are LNG-powered Vessels Eco-friendly?

LNG is an eco-friendly energy source, effective in reducing emissions of sulfur oxide by 99%, nitrogen oxide by 90%, and carbon dioxide by 30% compared to conventional fuels. Its fuel efficiency is comparable to that of bunker oil and the price is also reasonable. Especially in 2020, due to the expanded supply and the contraction of energy demand triggered by COVID-19, the price of LNG dropped lower than that of coal at one point. Based on the Japan Korea Marker (JKM), a price index of Northeast Asia, the natural gas unit *1MMBTU (Million British Thermal Unit)’s price in March 2020 recorded 2.43 USD, which was lower than that of Australian coal (2.56 USD) for the same amount of heat.*1 MMBTU: The amount of energy required to raise or lower the temperature of one pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. It is generally used as the basic unit for measuring LNG.The use of LNG is also further encouraged since IMO 2020 regulates the amount of sulfur oxides emitted from ships to be reduced from the current 3.5% or less to 0.5% or less starting from 2020. Of course, there are other ways to meet such standards without LNG. Low sulfur fuel can be used instead since it contains less sulfur, or conventional fuel, like bunker fuel, can be continued to be used, as long as an exhaust gas cleaning system (Scrubber) is installed. However, low sulfur fuel is bound to increase ship operating costs due to its high price, and exhaust gas cleaning systems are not only expensive but also difficult to install in certain ships because of their gigantic size. Also, some countries restrict ships equipped with the system, so there is a limit to the wide use of the system.Therefore, introducing an eco-friendly LNG-powered ship equipped with a dual fuel (DF) engine utilizing both LNG and crude oil might seem ideal, but this option requires a lot of investment and time since the ships have to be built anew.It took two years for POSCO to introduce two LNG-powered vessels. In June 2018, an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, POSCO, H-Line, and KOGAS. From December that year, Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries began building the ship, and exactly two years later, POSCO could hold the ship naming ceremony. POSCO is currently participating in the low-carbon & eco-friendly policy even in the ocean by installing exhaust gas cleaning systems on 20 vessels, which is more than half of the total carriers, and by utilizing LNG and low sulfur fuel in the remaining raw material ships.

l LNG-powered Vessels: Why Korea Is the Best

The heat of the global shipbuilding industry last year was the Qatar LNG project. Qatar, the world’s number one LNG producer, plans to increase its current production of 77 million tons per year to 126 million tons by 2027 since it expects that demand for LNG will skyrocket in the future. Accordingly, the country placed large-scale orders for LNG carriers last year. The orders, known to be the world’s largest, reached a whopping 27 trillion KRW amounting to a maximum of 120 vessels with 200 billion KRW per ship. Korea, China, and Japan all competed to win the contract and Korea won the most amount with 23.6 trillion KRW.In June last year, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering signed an agreement with Qatar Petroleum (QP), a state-owned oil company in Qatar, and reserved 100 LNG carrier building slots by 2027. Earlier in April, there were voices of concern that Korea might lose its spot as the leader of the LNG carrier market. However, the concerns proved unnecessary.Korea has positioned itself as the world’s number one in terms of orders for the past three years. And there is one specific advantage that sets Korea aside: the technology to build LNG-powered vessels. Since LNG carriers are at the same time LNG-powered vessels, the achievements of the Qatar project weren’t a huge surprise.The reason Korea is leading the sector of LNG-powered vessels is not only because it possesses excellent competitiveness, such as abundant experience and know-how to build large ships, but also due to its outstanding technology competitiveness in core facilities required for LNG-powered vessels, like fuel tanks, engines, and fuel power systems. Just as gasoline vehicles are replaced by electric vehicles, the engines of ships are changing according to fuel type. Korean shipbuilders have extensive experience in applying dual fuel engines that use crude oil and LNG, and the latest engines that have 10% better fuel efficiency to LNG-powered vessels. They also possess their own fuel supply system. Just as for LNG carriers, Korean shipbuilders have world-class design and construction technology for fuel tanks. The world’s first LNG-powered bulk carriers HL ECO and HL Green, introduced as POSCO raw material carriers, are made with 100% POSCO steel. Especially, this is the first time POSCO’s 9% nickel steel was applied to fuel tanks.▲ The world’s first LNG-powered bulk carrier, HL Green, in test operation. The oval tank surrounded by a yellow structure is the first LNG fuel tank to adopt POSCO 9% nickel steel.

l With Fuel Tanks for LNG-powered Vessels, POSCO Is Ready to Set Sail!

9% nickel steel is the most widely used steel for producing LNG storage tanks since it maintains outstanding strength and toughness even at extremely low temperatures that reach -163 degrees Celsius. 9% nickel steel could only be produced by few steelmakers in the past, so domestic shipbuilders had to depend on imports. However, POSCO succeeded in developing it for the first time in 1993, and after quality stabilization, production for the material has been accelerated from 2007. Recently, POSCO has been in active cooperation with the Big 3 shipbuilders in Korea to develop technology for LNG storage tanks using this material. By applying POSCO 9% nickel steel on the world’s first LNG-powered bulk carrier, POSCO has succeeded in material localization.According to the regulations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), only nickel alloy steel, stainless steel, 9% nickel steel, and aluminum alloy steel were permitted to be used as cryogenic materials for LNG tanks on board an LNG carrier. But there is one material that received approval two years ago — POSCO’s own high manganese steel. While 9% nickel steel has a downside of being expensive and unstable supply and demand, high manganese steel is about 30% more economical than 9% nickel steel. Its supply and demand are also stable due to its rich reserves. In December 2017, POSCO succeeded in applying high manganese steel to LNG tanks of the 50,000-ton “Green Iris,” the world’s largest LNG-powered bulk carrier at the time.Of course, there is a view of LNG as a transitional fuel. This is because the next step of IMO 2020 is IMO 2030 which targets to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% compared to 2008. The eventual goal is IMO 2050, aiming to reduce CO2 emission by 70% compared to 2008, and attaining a zero-carbon society. When this is realized, hydrogen will replace conventional fossil fuels. However, until that day arrives, the eco-friendly vessels to represent at least the next 10 or 30 years will be the LNG-powered vessels. In the Golden Age of Gas spreading across the ocean, POSCO’s eco-friendly steel is sailing along the journey.Related Articles• POSCO’s Solution for the LNG Industry! (ep.1)• POSCO’s Solution for the LNG Industry! (ep.2) LNGLNG ShipLNG-powered VesselPOSCOPOSCO Nickel Steel
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With the Eco-friendly LNG-powered Vessel, POSCO Is All Ready to Set Sail!

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