Business / Companies

Fuzhou shipbuilder targets high-tech specialized market

By Yang Ziman and Hu Meidong in Fuzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-13 09:03

Ships for specific purposes are the future of the shipbuilding industry, said a top executive of a Fuzhou-based shipbuilder.

Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Ltd, the largest shipbuilder in Fujian province, is building the world's first oceanic mining ship.

The 227-meter ship is to be used for mining at a level of 1,600 meters beneath the surface of the sea. It will be delivered to a British ship leasing firm in December 2017, which is going to lease it to Canadian company Nautilus Minerals for mining in oceanic regions near Papua New Guinea.

"Ships for special purposes are a major part of our portfolio," said Zhang Zhitong, chairman of Mawei Shipbuilding.

"Such ships, which require complex technology, have become our competitive edge in a time when the global shipping industry is experiencing a tough time." The total cost of the oceanic mining ship is around $600 million. It will generate an annual revenue of nearly $200 million, with gross profit rate between 10 to 20 percent, said Zhang.

Founded in 1866 and one of the nation's first shipbuilders, Mawei Shipbuilding pioneered China's modern shipbuilding, marine military force development and air-craft manufacturing.

The mining ship is equipped with three robots, each weighing 200, 300 and 350 tons, that dig up and crush the earth at the sea floor. The mud will be transported to the hulk of the boat to be dehydrated and loaded onto cargo ships.

"The water dehydrated from the mud will be transported down back to the bottom of the sea through a shaft due to environmental concerns," said Guan Changqing, chief engineer of the oceanographic engineering institute of Fujian Shipbuilding Industry Group Co Ltd, the parent company of Mawei Shipbuilding.

"China's advantages in shipbuilding lie in the fact that it is able to deliver the same quality of ships at lower costs. We are more inclined to accept orders for high-end ships from Europe in an effort to upgrade our production capacity. The successful delivery of this mining ship will greatly boost our reputation as a high-end and high-tech ship builder," said Zhang.

Mawei Shipbuilding is constructing a modern ship building yard that will be equipped with more intelligent manufacturing capacity with investment of more than 1 billion yuan, according to Zhang.

Zhang Yongfeng, director of the international shipping research department at the Shanghai International Shipping Institute, said that more than 40 percent of shipbuilding capacity in China currently lies idle. "Building large and high-end ships is the wise move for shipbuilders at the moment," he said.

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks