Mainland wins major share of ship orders

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2007, 12:00am

China has overtaken South Korea as the world's largest shipbuilder - at least in terms of new orders, with a 165 per cent increase in the first half - according to the State Oceanic Administration.

Mainland yards booked orders for new ships totalling 42.6 million tonnes in the first six months, representing 42 per cent of the global market. The administration did not provide updated figures for its Asian counterparts. But, in the first four months, Korea accounted for 34.3 per cent of the new order market, followed by 6 per cent for Japan.

In terms of vessel completion, however, the nation still lagged.

Mainland shipyards delivered vessels totalling 7.6 million tonnes in the first half, or 19 per cent of the global market. Because of a worldwide backlog, it takes two or three years to deliver a ship.

The mainland jumped to third place in shipbuilding last year, and is aiming to outstrip its rivals by 2015 through an extensive expansion programme on the Yangtze River. With new orders flowing in at a record rate, it may meet its goal earlier than expected.

Korea could maintain its position as No 1 for the next two to three years based on soaring demand for its gas and oil carriers, according to an April report funded by Samsung Heavy Industries, one of the world's biggest shipbuilders. 'But the real challenge will begin soon after the first phase of the massive expansion at the Yangtze River shipyards is concluded,' the report said.

China State Shipbuilding Corp has just finished its back-door listing and injected 12 billion yuan of its civil shipbuilding assets into its Shanghai-listed subsidiary, giving it a bigger platform from which to raise funds for expansion on the Yangtze River and in Guangzhou.

The combined capacity of the shipyards will increase to 14 million tonnes by 2015 from four million tonnes now. By 2010, the combined capacity of the mainland's shipyards will total 25 million tonnes, up from 12 million tonnes in 2005.