Global ambition for China shipbuilding

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 September, 1997, 12:00am

The mainland's shipbuilding industry has progressed in recent years to become the world's third-largest manufacturer and sixth-highest recipient of orders for new vessels.

Five per cent of the ships built annually in the world come from the mainland and Chinese-made ships are of equal quality to Korean-made models and close to those built in Japan, reports Xinhua (the New China News Agency).

Analysts attribute the achievements to the industry's efforts in accelerating restructuring, granting enterprises the right of self-decision on internal affairs, increasing infrastructural investment and giving priority to science and technology.

They cited the example of the China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC), which was formed in 1982 during the early stages of China's economic liberalisation.

The corporation experienced its fastest growth in the period of 1992-96, with its annual output value rising 14 per cent annually to 17.9 billion yuan (about HK$16.63 billion) and tonnage of vessels built reaching 18.66 billion tonnes, a rise of 31 per cent per year.

In the same period, CSSC also earned 6.2 billion yuan from ship repairs, and manufactured diesel engines for ship use with a power capacity of 3.91 million kilowatts.

The mainland exported US$3.15 billion worth of vessels, up 29.3 per cent annually. Ships are the sixth-largest export item among the country's machinery and electrical products.

Between 1992-96, CSSC invested nearly 10 billion yuan to increase its shipbuilding capacity by one million tonnes, dock-volume by 200,000 tonnes and diesel-engine manufacturing capacity by one million KW.

The company's shipbuilding capacity stands at 2.5 million tonnes and is expected to exceed 3.8 million tonnes by 2000.

The mainland has drastically reduced its technological gap with the advanced countries.

The country is capable of manufacturing 4,000-teu (20-ft equivalent unit) container ships, 46,000-tonne chemicals-carrying vessels, 150,000-tonne oil tankers, 52,000-tonne multi-purpose vessels and high-performance passenger hydrofoils.

CSSC is also able to repair vessels with a capacity of 300,000 tonnes.

CSSC is working to build a modern enterprise system from its subsidiaries. So far, it has one listed firm and several enterprise groups.

According to CSSC sources, the corporation plans to do more to meet the needs of national economic development and the defence sector, while increasing its exports.

By the end of the century, China is expected to rank among advanced shipbuilding countries, and by 2010 it is expected to become a major global competitor in the industry.