If measured by the number of ships produced and the number of vessel orders received, China is the world’s leading shipbuilder. However, in order to become a real superpower in the shipbuilding industry China still needs some more time, so being said by a senior industry official.
On a press conference on Saturday Li Dong, vice-director of equipment industry department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said that China aims to become the builder of the most advanced ships by 2015.
In 2010, China built ships with a total deadweight capacity of 65.6 million tons, accounting for 43% of the deadweight capacity of all ships built in the world, and received ship construction orders with a total deadweight capacity of 75.2 million tons, accounting for 54% of the new orders in the world, he said. In the same year, China was trying to catch up with unfulfilled orders for ships with 195.9 million tons of deadweight capacity, making up 41% of the unfulfilled ship orders in the world.
Steen Brodsgaard Lund, executive vice-president and head of maritime services Asia-Pacific of the Germanischer Lloyd SE, said, "China has surpassed South Korea to become the foremost shipbuilder in the world." The Germanischer Lloyd (GL) is a German classification society based in Hamburg. "This momentum is likely to be maintained as China's booming shipbuilding industry is now on its way to become the world's leading shipbuilding nation from a quantity perspective and also continues to make impressive quality improvements.", Steen Brodsgaard Lund added.
Li said China is looking to move from being a great sea power to a shipbuilding superpower as part of its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) but still lags behind other shipbuilding nations when it comes to the ability to innovate and improve the technology used on seagoing vessels.
Technical director of Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co Ltd, Hu Keyi, told China Daily in an exclusive interview this year, "I want to answer those who wrongly hold that China's shipbuilding industry is too weak to compete with those of other nations, such as Japan and South Korea. As a matter of fact, after more than 10 years of rapid development with support from both State-owned banks and government policy, we can build high-end ships just as well as our counterparts." He is confident China enjoys great prospects in the shipbuilding industry.
Hu agreed China lags behind countries like Japan, the United States and South Korea in terms of high-tech ships construction. However, he said, China has advantages. Recently Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing Heavy Industry Co Ltd., which is affiliated Jiangnan Shipyard, received an order for the construction of six 9,000-TEU containerships from a German ship owner.
"Those are the largest of their kind that have ever been designed in China," Hu said and added, "The order shows Chinese shipyard's ability to build containerships in accordance with international standards." Business between Chinese shipyards and overseas clients will spread the reputation of vessels made in China, he stated.
As Royal Dutch Shell makes final investment decision on the world's first LNG-FPSO, South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries embarked on the construction of the facility in earnest.
The Prelude FLNG is the largest of its kind and is to start producing LNG from 2016.
Samsung back on July 29th 2009 signed a basic contract with Royal Dutch Shell to construct LNG-FPSOs, together with France’s Technip, its consortium partner.
Under the agreement, Samsung will exclusively supply LNG-FPSOs to Shell for the next 15 years.
Industry insiders expect Shell to order up to 10 LNG-FPSOs worth $50 billion in total.
Samsung on March 9th 2010 held a signing ceremony for a contract with Royal Dutch Shell to build the 1st LNG-FPSO. Samsung, France’s Technip and Royal Dutch Shell signed a formal contract to build the LNG-FPSO, which is just the beginning of what would be the world’s largest newbuilding contract ever.
The LNF-FPSO, which has a length of 456 m, a width of 74 m and a height of 100 m, is expected to cost $5 billion.
The unit’s LNG storage capacity comes to 450,000 ㎥ and it will produce 3.6 million tons of natural gas per year at the gas field northwest Australia since 2016.
Brazil seeks to triple the number of ships and deepwater drilling rigs it needs to meet its ambitious oil and gas production targets set for 2020.
Dismissing widespread concern about structural overcapacity in the tanker sector, Petrobras chief executive Jose Sergio Gabrielli and Transpetro chief executive Sergio Machado have both been briefing shipowners, offshore executives and potential government partners in Norway this week, as part of a strategic plan to boost investment and ramp up shipping capacity.
Announcing that Petrobras plans to double total output to 5.4m barrels of oil equivalent per day by the end of the decade from 2.5m boe today, Mr Gabrielli told offshore operators Brazil would need five new shipyards, an additional 38 deepwater rigs and more than 280 supply and special vessels by 2020 in order to hit its capacity projections.
Mr Machado separately told shipowners Petrobras’ transport arm, Transpetro, would need to increase the size of its fleet from 53 tankers totalling 3m dwt to 120 tankers by 2015.
“We have a big challenge ahead of us to add sufficient capacity and this expansion is going to require hundreds of vessels; this opens a big avenue of opportunities for the shipping industry,” said Mr Gabrielli, addressing the Nor-Shipping conference.
Brazil lays claim to being the fourth-largest buyer of ships worldwide and its shipbuilding sector alone has managed rapidly to swell its ranks from 2,000 people employed a decade ago to more than 56,000 by 2010. The Brazilian delegation was keen to point out there was still considerable money to be spent on their ambitious expansion plans.
The Brazilian government is planning to invest $1bn in maritime training and research over the next three years and estimates it will need to train 208,000 people in Brazil by 2020 to meet demands across the maritime and logistics sector.
China’s Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Railways signed an agreement on Tuesday to jointly promote the development of China’s combined rail-and-waterway transportation network.
The agreement, regarded by the Chinese government as a concrete step in the establishment of a fully integrated transportation system, will increase efficiency, cut costs and contribute to China’s efforts to save energy and reduce carbon emissions, said Li Shenglin, China’s minister of transportation.
According to the agreement, the two ministries will work to optimize China’s existing rail-and-waterway transportation network, increase the construction of needed infrastructure and create supportive policies and regulations for the network, said Weng Mengyong, vice minister of transportation.
The ministries will also work together to strengthen the management of the network and work with ports and shipping and railway companies to develop related businesses, Weng said.
Weng said that the number of shipping containers handled through China’s combined rail-and-waterway transportation network is less than 2 percent of the total amount of containers handled at the country’s ports.
Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (Holdings) is set to own the largest dry dock in China as the Singapore-listed company, which holds a 60% stake in Yangzi Xinfu Shipbuilding, is building a 543-metre-by-147-metre dock that will be ready from 2013.
Industry watchers says the new dock will overtake Hong Kong-listed Rongsheng Heavy Industries’s No 4 dry dock, which measures 530 metres by 135 metres and is currently the largest of its kind in the country.
The move has raised concerns that it will further aggravate the excess capacity the Chinese shipbuilding industry is currently facing. However, some market players reckon it is necessary for Yangzijiang to own a large dock in order to exercise flexibility and adapt to market changes.
“Yangzijiang is building this mega-size dry dock so that it can construct large vessels as well as offshore units,” said one industry pundit.
Industry players say Yangzijiang will be using the dock to construct the 10,000-teu containerships that Seaspan Corp is intending to book.
“Another reason for building the dry dock is that Yangzijiang did not succeed in taking over oil-rig maker PPL Shipyard. As a result, it is investing in Yangzi Xinfu to enter the offshore sector,” said one shipbuilding player.
Italian shipowners are urging China to take responsibility for the crippling effects overcapacity is having on chartering markets, particularly the dry sector, by introducing a system that for every ship its yards build another is scrapped, in bid to tackle rocketing fleet growth.
Giuseppe Bottiglieri and other owners present at the Mare Forum Italy event in Sorrento said they would like to see China go one step further than the incentive scheme introduced last year aimed at getting domestic owners to scrap unsafe vessels, and balance out new ships entering service with the same number exiting the fleet.
A major concern are elderly ships of around 25-30 years of age bought in the secondhand market over the last two years while prices have been cheap, and which are serving the Chinese coastal trade. Many are thought to be at risk of breakdown or accidents.
“It is very dangerous for shipowners. Those with old ships should be warned that they are running huge risks,” Mr Bottiglieri told the forum, talking about China but also the wider shipowning community. “They should be replaced with new ships.”
Privately-owned Chinese shipyards are not under threat from closure, and, just like state-owned facilities, are receiving support from the country’s government to keep employment high and the economy moving.
In contrast to the widely held view in the maritime industry that as newbuilding orders dry up, private yards will struggle to find business, Keen Maritime Services managing director John Su says the Chinese government is so concerned about unemployment it will not let these facilities fail.
As a Chinese-born broker and consultant that is based in Athens, he is the middle man for a number of foreign deals taking place but is also is heavily involved with China’s domestic market and says its banks are so influenced by central government they will continue to lend to shipbuilding yards and owners to sustain a robust economy.
“The government doesn’t care about owners and overcapacity, they care more about jobs and the economic fallout from a yard collapsing and so even the private yards will get support,” he told the Mare Forum Italy in Sorrento.
Added to this, Mr Su says there is more domestic newbuilding ordering activity taking place in China than the rest of the world realises.
“It’s scary to think but there are a lot of orders that are not known to brokers,” he said, making reference to a contract reported by brokers such as Clarksons last week for an order of two confirmed 205,000 bulk carriers, and options for six more, at Qingdao Yangfan Shipbuilding for owner HongXiang Shipping.
“This order was already placed last year and is just one example,” highlighting the extent to which the shipping industry does not know the true size of the global orderbook.
Croatian Register of Shipping is the latest organisation to join the International Association of Classification Societies.
IACS chairman Noboru Ueda accepted the registry’s application for membership.
Ueda said that he looked forward to the registry’s “active participation in and contribution to” the organisation’s work.
CRS’ membership follows that of the Indian Register of Shipping, which became the first new member of IACS last year since new membership criteria came into effect in 2009.
Bulk freighters will be able to avoid congestion around Shanghai and sail up China's Yangtze River as far as Nanjing under a $2.7 billion plan to deepen the navigation channel by 2015, Xinhua News Agency reported.
The river would be navigable for ships up to 50,000 tonnes, which means handymax and supramax dry bulk carriers will be able to unload their cargoes further upstream in Jiangsu province, giving more manufacturers direct access to imported commodities, as well as easing logistics for exports, it said.
Nanjing is already a major destination for commodities shipments, chiefly iron ore. Its customs office handled imports of 17.5 million tonnes of iron ore in the first three months of this year, the third-highest in the country, after Qingdao and Shijiazhuang.
Huge supply bottlenecks have affected imports of coal, grains and other dry bulk goods into China, which has turned into the principle buyer for many raw materials thanks to rapid economic growth.
The 18 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) project to deepen the navigation channel would be funded by the Ministry of Transport and the government of Jiangsu province, Xinhua said.
Cosco (Dalian) Shipyard Co. Ltd. has awarded a contract to Inocean to develop and produce a basic design for a new compact, ultra-deepwater drillship. The design is being introduced for the first time in Houston at the Offshore Technology Conference.
The design, tagged INO-80, is dynamically positioned with a large, free deck space designed for year-around operations.
“Cosco and Inocean have during the years worked closely in several projects including heavy-lift vessels, FPSOs, and drillships,” said Jon Erik Borgen, CEO of Inocean AS. “The approach will be the same for INO-80, where Inocean will contribute with its high-end engineering and design expertise, and Cosco with its strong execution ability. Depending upon the response from the market, we believe the first unit will be delivered in 1Q 2014.”