SHANGHAI: Shipbuilding is undergoing an unprecedented growth
in the birthplace of the industry in China because the city wants to become the
largest such base in the world.
In the middle of January, the Shanghai Shipyard Corporation completed a
3,500-TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) container vessel, North-Philippa, at its new
dock on Chongming Island. The ship, already delivered to the German buyer, is
the biggest container vessel built on the mainland under an intellectual
The shipyard will build 36 more such ships by 2009. After shifting to
Chongming, the shipyard is expected to raise its annual output capacity of 1
million deadweight tons (DWTs).
"We're confident about our competence in building large container ships or
bulk cargo ships for buyers across the world. We've enough orders for the next
few years, and the same applies to many other shipyards in the city," a source
in the shipyard management, surnamed Qian, said yesterday.
Shanghai reportedly has 19 large and medium-sized shipbuilders along the
Huangpu River and the Yangtze River estuary. In the past year, the city has
built ships that add up to a record 5 million DWT, accounting for more than
one-third of the country's total production.
Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Corporation (SWSC) alone had a 311.5-DWT
total in 2006, a rise of 44 percent over the previous year. The shipyard, still
undergoing expansion, has orders for about 80 ships now that are worth more than
He Baoxing, an official from SWSC, said the second phase of the shipyard
would be completed this year.
Many local shipbuilding companies, most of them State-owned, have aggressive
expansion plans like SWSC. Some of them along the Huangpu River are now shifting
base to the Changxing and Chongming islands on the mouth of the Yangtze so that
they can build even bigger ships and increase their production capacity.
The largest shipyard of the world is already in construction on Changxing
Island, about 7 kilometers away from the mainland. It will occupy a stretch of 8
kilometers on the southern part of the island and is expected to be fully
operational by 2015. Its annual production capacity would be 12 million DWTs,
more than double the city's total output last year.
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