China Focus: China’s shipbuilding industry cruising to bigger success
As the world’s largest luxury passenger cruise ship in terms of tonnage embarked on its voyage in the Mediterranean, a counterpart of equal magnificence was standing prepared for delivery along the Pearl River in south China.
Behind these marvels is the Guangzhou Shipyard International Company Limited, the manufacturer of the vessels.
“In the first half of this year, the orders of our company surged by 90 percent year on year, and we have production orders booked until 2028,” said Zhang Qinghuan, deputy secretary of the company’s Party committee.
The ability to fulfill orders promptly while simultaneously accepting new ones provides a glimpse into the remarkable growth of major shipyards in China this year.
According to data from the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry, from January to July 2023, China’s shipbuilding industry topped global rankings in three crucial categories — shipbuilding output, new orders, and holding orders.
“The volume of shipbuilding output showcases our shipbuilding prowess, the influx of new orders underscores our robust market presence, and the extensive holding orders signify our ability to withstand risks,” said Chen Jianrong, secretary general of the Guangdong association of shipbuilding industry.
The projections of the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry paint a compelling picture of China’s shipbuilding prowess this year. It anticipates that the country’s shipbuilding output will surpass 42 million deadweight tonnes (dwt), with new ship orders reaching 50 million dwt and holding orders at 120 million dwt.
“Our ship construction has evolved from single-product specialization to comprehensive product coverage, integrating into the global supply chain, while localization levels continue to elevate,” Chen said.
China’s shipbuilding industry, with its advanced construction capabilities, has provided substantial support to Chinese shipowners, propelling them to the forefront of global fleet management.
Data from Clarkson Research, a renowned shipping research institution, reveals that China has now overtaken Greece as the leading owner of global fleet tonnage in terms of gross tonnes (GT).
“Shipping primarily serves trade, and China’s ascension to become the world’s largest shipowner can be attributed to the rapid growth of the country’s economy and trade,” said Zhang Shouguo, executive vice president of the China Shipowners’ Association.
According to analysts, the expansion of China’s fleet comes as no surprise, given the nation’s substantial cargo volume, a well-developed shipbuilding sector, and an increasingly dynamic financial landscape.
Li Yanqing, secretary general of the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry, emphasizes the interconnectedness of China’s shipbuilding industry with various sectors, including shipping, aquaculture and even the power industry.
“This collaboration represents a dynamic process of joint research and development,” Li said. “By actively promoting the synergy between the upstream and downstream segments of the shipbuilding industry and fostering market-sharing initiatives, it is poised to generate more new opportunities.”