China joins ranks of the giant shipbuilders

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 May, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 May, 1995, 12:00am

CHINA'S shipbuilding industry suddenly finds it has joined the world's strongest marine engineering fleets, according to official reports.

Boosted by achievements over the past 15 years, the China Daily said the industry was aiming to enlarge its share of the world shipbuilding market to 10 per cent by 2000 - from the present four to five per cent.

Last year, China built vessels totalling three million dead weight tonnes (dwt).

Of these, the China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC) built 1.64 million dwt - a little more than half - for overseas owners.

The other 1.36 million dwt were small to medium-size vessels built by shipyards belonging to different industries.

Between 1980 and last year, the CSSC had received orders for vessels totalling 14 million dwt, half from overseas, and had built 11 million dwt. The vessels, ranging from 150,000 dwt cargo carriers to roll-on/roll-off ships to accommodate 4,000 cars, were exported to more than 40 countries, the newspaper said.

CSSC has said it could build nearly all types of vessels, such as container ships to accommodate 2,700 20 ft equivalent units (teus) or vessels to carry 70,000 tonnes of dangerous liquid chemicals.

CSSC executives said the industry has firm foundation for reaching its long-term target because it has: Accumulated experience for competition on the international market and flexibility to meet client's needs.

Established a relatively complete system of technical expertise and marine engineering norms by introducing more than 3,000 forms of international standards from Britain, the United States, Norway, Germany and Japan.

Improved product quality-control at shipyards and marine components manufacturers.

Shortened the period of building a vessel so docks can be used more efficiently.

At the Guangzhou Shipyard, for example, four vessels can be completed within a year.

With the strong support of marine engineering research and development institutes, CSSC expects to increase yearly output to 2.2 million deadweight tonnes of vessels by 1997.

CSSC was formed in 1985 on the basis of the former No 6 Ministry of Machinery Industry, which was dissolved in the wake of economic restructuring reforms.

It now has 80 enterprises, including 26 big shipyards, which constitute the industry's main output.

The shipyards also construct vessels for the navy.

Before 1984, China had to depend on imports. Between 1949 and 1984, it bought 1,100 vessels totalling 12 million deadweight tonnes.