China tops three major shipbuilding metrics in 2021: association
Published: Jan 16, 2022 11:06 AM
A staff member works at a shipbuilding yard of Duchang Shipyard Co., Ltd. in Duchang County of Jiujiang City, east China's Jiangxi Province, Feb. 24, 2021. The company has resumed production right after the Spring Festival holiday to ensure that orders are completed on time with good quality.Photo:Xinhua

A staff member works at a shipbuilding yard of Duchang Shipyard Co., Ltd. in Duchang County of Jiujiang City, east China's Jiangxi Province, Feb. 24, 2021. Photo:Xinhua

Chinese shipyards topped the three major metrics used by the global shipbuilding industry in 2021, with the highest number of completed orders, new orders and orders on hand, marking a strong start to the first year of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry (CANSI) said on Sunday. 

Chinese shipbuilders accounted for about 50 percent of the total global volume, with China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC), the nation's largest shipbuilder, surpassing South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries to become the world's largest shipbuilder for the first time.

CSSC completed and delivered 206 ships in 2021, accounting for 20.2 percent of the global order volume. The value of CSSC's new orders hit 130.15 billion yuan ($20.49 billion), the most since 2008.

Meanwhile, CSSC had 41.953 million tons worth of orders on hand, outperforming its 2021 annual goal, according to another report released by the CANSI on January 13.

The CANSI's report said that CSSC seized opportunities for the development of global marine transport, and signed contracts to build containerships with multiple foreign carriers, including France's CMA CGM, Switzerland's Mediterranean Shipping Co and Canada's Seaspan Corp in 2021.

The order for 22 containerships from CMA CGM, valued over 15 billion yuan, was a record among domestic shipyards. CSSC's contract value of containership orders in 2021 surpassed 68 billion yuan, one-third of the global market, consolidating CSSC's leading position worldwide.

Zhou Liwei, deputy general manager of the China Classification Society's Guangzhou branch, told the Global Times on Sunday that the Chinese shipbuilding industry's advancing technologies and relatively less affected industry chain contributed to its great progress in 2021.

"The Chinese shipbuilding industry was affected by logistics issues caused by COVID-19, which delayed the transport of key manufacturing equipment and engineers," said Zhou, noting that these issues might affect contract prices, but this can usually be resolved by negotiations.

Zhou noted that due to the well-controlled pandemic in China, domestic ship demand increased more in 2021 than in foreign markets. "Domestic ship buyers prefer to choose domestic shipbuilders such as CSSC, an important factor that helped the company surpass Hyundai Heavy Industries," said Zhou.

Still, the Chinese shipbuilding industry faces wider challenges amid the uncertainties generated by the global pandemic. The sector is a heavy industry with low mobility, and it has adapted to multiple difficulties brought about by COVID-19 during the past two years, according to Zhou.

"The Chinese shipbuilding industry's stability was proved by the progress it made in 2021 amid COVID-19, and the biggest challenges now may come from global market demand," said Zhou.