Dry docks are essential facilities for ship construction and repairs. Marine vessels are manoeuvred into the shipyard and then the submerged parts such as the hull are exposed for inspection and maintenance which is extremely important for expanding the life-span of a ship.
With the coming of new maritime technologies, efficient and sustainable vessels are being built to reduce the pollution caused by oceanic shipping.
Let us look at the 10 biggest dry docks in the world and their distinguishing characteristics.
1. CSBC Corporation- Kaohsiung shipyard
Founded in 1937, CSBC Corporation is the biggest shipbuilding company in Taiwan offering a plethora of services such as building commercial and official ships, naval vessels, offshore steel structures, manufacturing machinery, offshore engineering, assembling equipment, maritime transportation and others.
In the past three decades, the company has constructed different kinds of ships for its national and international customers hailing from Europe, Asia, Africa and America. It was owned by the government before being privatised in 2008.
Earlier known as the China Shipbuilding Corporation, the CSBC is presently headquartered in Kaohsiung and has a regional office in Taipei to solve customer queries. It has two expansive shipyards namely the Kaohsiung shipyard located in southern Taiwan, which is the biggest dry dock in the world and the Keelung dock lying in the north.
The Kaohsiung dry dock spans 950 m and is 92 m wide, with a draft of 14 m. Located near Taiwan’s biggest port, it is equipped with ultramodern technologies and equipment including state-of-the-art facilities for building efficient and sturdy vessels. The dry dock can simultaneously engage in the construction and repair of 4 ships weighing over 10,000 tonnes.
2. Hyundai Heavy Industries- Gunsan Shipyard
Hyundai Group’s shipbuilding corporation is the world leader in the ship construction sector and holds a 15% market share. The companies’ Gunsan shipyard is one of the biggest in the world, covering more than four kilometres along the coastline facing Mipo Bay in Ulsan, Korea.
A renowned manufacturer of marine propulsion systems, the shipyard has successfully delivered 2151 ships of varying sizes to 321 shipowners from 50 countries across the world since it became operational in 1974. In 2017, it reached a total production mark of 200 million DWT tonnes and delivered the world’s biggest container vessel, the CSCL Globe in 2018.
The shipyard comprises ten 700 m long and 115 m wide dry docks equipped with goliath cranes which allow the construction of ships of all sizes and hull types. Although the shipyard covers 1780 acres, it houses many warehouse facilities spanning 395 acres and is fitted with cutting-edge technologies and modern equipment such as mechanised steel cutting lines, a painting workshop, a metalwork factory and crankshaft shops.
Given the shipyard’s location, it is easily accessible from the sea and specialises in the construction of bulk carriers, container ships, oil tankers, product carriers, multipurpose cargo vessels, pure car carriers, roro vessels, chemical tankers, offshore rigs, and barges. It also provides transportation and marine engineering services.
The shipyard was closed in 2017 due to the recession in the shipbuilding industry however it will become operational in January 2023 as per news reports. The stakeholders plan to transform it into a major facility for manufacturing eco-friendly vessels and increase the country’s share in the growing global market of low-carbon ships such as those driven by ammonia and hydrogen.
3. Dalian COSCO shipyard
Founded in 2007, the Dalian COSCO shipyard is a joint venture of the China Ocean Shipping Group Company and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Also known as DACKS, the shipyard is situated in Dalian, the maritime technology and industrial centre of northeast China.
It covers an area of over 1.89 million sq m along the 2500 m long coastline and comprises 2 dry docks, out of which one covers 700 m and is the longest dry dock in China. It also has a 180,000 DWT floating dock, 3 outfitting berths, a 250 m slipway and the biggest suit-assemblage factory in Asia measuring 125,000 sq m, three workshops, a pipe manufacturing factory and three paintings shops. The shipyard is operated by 2000 trained workers, including 300 engineers and technicians. After completion, the shipyard would have 2 docks and 4 quays.
It engages in the construction of large bulk carriers, VLCCs, container ships, Pure car carriers, LNG vessels, merchant ships etc. It also undertakes ship conversion services like VLCC to FPSO, VLCC to VLOC, the transformation of single-hull tankers into double hulls and so on. Presently the shipyard can repair over 200 ships of different types annually. It serves renowned shipping companies by building all types and sizes of vessels imbued with innovative maritime technologies.
4. Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited (R-NAVAL)- Pipavav Shipyard
Earlier known as Pipavav Shipyard Limited and Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Limited, R-naval was acquired by Reliance Group in 2016. Possessing one of the largest shipbuilding and marine engineering infrastructures in the world, this Indian shipbuilding corporation is based in Mumbai and is the first Indian private enterprise to get a licence for constructing warships.
The shipyard is located in Pipavav, Gujarat and extends more than 500 acres with access to 750 m of the waterfront area. It has a 640 m long and 65 m wide dry dock capable of accommodating vessels weighing up to 400,000 DWT and incorporates a 100 m paved track for unloading machinery and other equipment from ships and barges using goliath cranes. It also has two mobile cranes with a combined lifting capacity of 1150 tonnes. This shipyard provides floating repair facilities and an additional 250 m long pier equipped with a level luffing crane.
A Special Economic Zone covering 95 hectares is located a few kilometres from the dry dock for making hull blocks. It houses numerous workshops, factories etc. Due to this facility, the dry dock has enough space for carrying out the repair, maintenance and assemblage work.
The shipyard is known for the construction and repair of bulk carriers, barges, naval vessels, platform supply ships, offshore units etc. It also has a facility for converting mobile offshore production units into mobile offshore production platforms.
5. Samsung Heavy Industries Co LTD- Geoje Shipyard
Samsung Heavy Industries is one of the biggest shipbuilding corporations in Korea and the world. It is present in the shipping and transportation sector including research and digitisation of port projects. Offering services such as maritime engineering, construction and delivery of vessels for shipping companies, building topside modules, drilling rigs, floating platforms, control systems for vessels etc, this company has manufacturing facilities in Korea and abroad.
Its Geoje shipyard is the biggest in South Korea and has the world’s highest dock turnover rate. It has 5 floating docks and 3 dry docks out of which the third is 640 m long, 97.5 m broad and 13 m deep. It can accommodate the world’s largest cargo carriers, VLCCs and undertakes the construction of highly-efficient ultra-large vessels. Built-in 1977, the shipyard covers 4,000,000 m2 and can handle repair, construction and conversion of 70 vessels annually. Its offshore facility deals with 250,000 million tonnes in a year.
Geoje shipyard mainly constructs special-purpose ships such as offshore vessels, LNG ships, oil drilling vessels, FPSO and FSOs, container ships, passenger ships and Arctic shuttle tankers. Presently the facility has concentrated on taking contracts for building LNG tankers and drilling vessels. Ships are built on the floating docks where novel methods such as terra-block technology are used for reducing construction time.
6. Hyundai-Samho Heavy Industries Co. LTD.
HSHI is the world’s fifth-biggest shipbuilding company based in Yeongnam, South Korea. It has increased the ambit of its operations from ship construction to manufacturing offshore plants. The company had built the first LNG powered crude oil ship in the world and is a dominant manufacturer of green energy vessels. Numerous LNG carriers, container ships, bulk carriers imbued with carbon reduction technology have been built by the corporation. It can construct about 40 ships annually at its various facilities.
Situated in Jeollanamdo, South Korea, the Hyundai-Samho shipyard has one of the biggest dry docks in the world. It covers about 3,300,000 sq m and comprises two dry docks with a construction capacity of 3.7 million gross tonnes annually. They are served by 5 goliath cranes and 2 mobile cranes. The shipyard houses a factory and automated facilities for undertaking construction and ship repairs. About 8 LNG carriers can be constructed by the shipyard in a year.
7. New Times Shipbuilding Co. LTD
New Times Shipbuilding Corporation Limited is a Chinese shipbuilding company situated in the Xingang Industrial Park in eastern China’s Jiangsu province. The Jinjiang New times Shipyard spans more than 1000,000 sq m on the 3200 m shoreline. It has its design institute, support facilities, two workshops, 2 outfitting jetties and 3 dry docks, the biggest being 588 m long and 106 m wide. It undertakes the construction, maintenance, and repair of bulk carriers, barges, tankers, cargo ships, Panamax size oil tankers, and chemical tankers along with manufacturing ship parts and control systems.
The shipyard has the capacity of constructing 100,000 to 300,000 tonnes class carriers and can build 5 million DWT every year. Currently, the corporation is focussing on taking contracts for building Aframax, Panamax and Capesize bulk carriers. The shipyard has a professional team of 5000 engineers and trained staff for providing efficient services.
8. China Shipping Industry (JIANGSU) CO. LTD
The China Shipping Industry is situated in the province of Jiangsu, China’s famous commercial and financial centre. The company is one of the renowned enterprises in the country specialising in the repair and maintenance of ships. Till now, it has successfully built more than 90 efficient maritime vessels for its customers. It has evolved considerably and shifted its focus to produce eco-friendly LNG powered vessels to overtake its Japanese and Korean competitors.
The company’s shipyard became operational in 2007 and enjoys a suitable position near the river Jia. Adjacent to the banks of river Yangtze, the availability of a well-protected natural 3500 m waterfront and deep waters make it a perfect facility for shipbuilding. It covers 4200 acres comprising four workshops, 2 floating docks, 3 administrative buildings and two dry docks measuring 530 m lengthwise and 136 m breadthwise with a draft of 14 m. A workforce of 2950 people and 29 engineers are behind the successful operation of the shipyard which engages in the construction of container vessels, tankers, non-submersible equipment, drilling rigs, engineering machinery etc.
9. Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing Heavy Industry Co LTD (SCH)
Established in 2006, Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing Heavy Industry is a prominent name in the shipbuilding industry. Its shipyard was located in the southern part of central Shanghai but was relocated to the island of Changxing near the mouth of river Yangtze in 2009. It manufactures all types and sizes of container ships ranging from 5000 to 10,000 TEU, bulk carriers weighing around 175,000 TEU, Very large gas carriers, LNG ships, offshore equipment, floating platforms and steelworks meeting the standards of distinguished classification societies. Conversion of civilian and military vessels is also undertaken at this facility.
The Jiangnan shipyard spans 1.48 million sq m and incorporates eight berthing facilities with a total berth length of 1870 m. It also has five outfitting quays and a dry dock measuring 580 m equipped with two large gantry cranes with a lifting capacity of over 500 tonnes, three mobile cranes for lifting blocks and a roll bending machine. Painting workshops and blasting service is also available. Since the facility has concentrated on building world-class container ships, it is known as the construction centre of container ships in China.
10. Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding CO LTD
This company was established in 1999 and is owned by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation. Its shipyard covers approximately five million sq m of area for undertaking construction and repair works with a 4-kilometre long waterfront area. It also includes three outfitting quays, a 700-ton gantry crane, four cranes with a lifting capacity of over 500 tonnes and numerous blasting facilities, eight painting shops and 2 dry docks.
Recently, the facility delivered a 210,000 DWT Newcastlemax bulk carrier to the Foremost group based in New York. Since 2013, it has constructed 500 commercial ships with an annual delivery average of 499 DWT.
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