China Regains Title Of World’s No.1 Shipbuilding Nation, As It Surpasses South Korea

China has made headlines all over the world last year because of the coronavirus outbreak but there is good news emanating from the country as well. The maritime industry witnessed one such good news today as China took over South Korea in terms of global shipbuilding orders.

China regained its previous title as the No.1 shipbuilder country in the world after a span of 2 years.

China Improves on All 3 Indicators

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, MIIT issued a statement on Friday which showed these new statistics. As per the statement, “China’s three major indicators in the shipbuilding industry – completed ships, new orders, and orders on hand – were all in leading positions worldwide in 2020 with 43.1%, 48.8% and 44.7% of the global market share respectively”

View of ships under construction at a shipyard of Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), on Changxing Island in Shanghai, 3 June 2008. Chinas oldest shipbuilder, tJiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co., Ltd., completed the move to a new home on Tuesday (June 3) to make room for World Expo 2010. The shipbuilder moved from its Huangpu River site in Shanghai to Changxing Island on the mouth of the Yangtze River, which is set to become the worlds largest shipyard. Work on the 16-billion-yuan (2.3 billion US dollars) new shipyard started in 2005. It is the first phase of the Changxing shipbuilding base and has a production capacity of 4.5 million deadweight tons (DWT), with a 3.8-km coastline, four docks and three production lines.
Image for Representation Purpose Only

The other 2 players in the list, South Korea and Japan had 41.4% and 7% of global shipping orders respectively, making the No.2 and No.3 amongst the shipbuilding nations

The global shipbuilding status is judged on 3 indicators – in-hand orders, new orders and completed ship orders which were dominated by South Korea and Japan before China’s entry in 2010. China led the boom in all 3 indicators in 2010 but soon South Korea received the highest new shipbuilding in 2018 and 2019. So, 2020 became a significant year for China’s shipbuilding industry.

Solidifies China’s Position As A Shipbuilding Nation

“The industry’s rise during a raging pandemic showed the resilience and the strong foundation of the Chinese shipbuilding industry”, said Li Yanqing, secretary-general of the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry.

This boom happened due to Chinese shipbuilding industry’s development in the LNG and cruise ship sector, revealed Wu Minghua, a Shanghai-based independent shipping industry analyst.

China added the last jewels in its crown when it showcased the first domestically built cruise ship at the third China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November 2020,

The ship was made by the state owned subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corp, CSSC, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co. In the expo the cruise was transferred to the dock for its final assembly.

“Three major sectors – container ships, oil tankers and bulk cargo carriers – built by Chinese companies also had significant increases in the last two years, and some companies can’t complete their orders on time due to the large number of orders on hand,” said Wu.

In September 2020, the world’s first 23,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) container ship built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Co, a subsidiary of CSSC, was completed. The order was from CMA CGM, a French container transportation and shipping company.

Striving for a Bright Future

8 more 23,000 TEU container ships will be co-built with another CSSC subsidiary Jiangnan Shipyard Co, according to the contract between CMA CGM and CSSC.

According to Wu the MIIT data is correct as “China’s shipbuilding industry is striving to improve efficiency and master core techniques”


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