Shipbuilders sail before the wind in Jan
Chinese shipyards have taken the No 1 spot by order volume in January thanks to proper strategic positioning, capability in seizing opportunities and flexibility in tapping market demand, experts said.
In January, China took the lion's share in the global shipbuilding order book by receiving 48 percent of the world's newbuild orders, or 1.47 million compensated gross tonnages (CGT), said British shipbuilding industry tracker Clarkson Research Services.
South Korean shipyards followed their Chinese counterparts closely, as they garnered 1.38 million CGTs of new ship orders, accounting for 45 percent of the global share. Japanese yards ranked third by holding 3 percent of all new orders worldwide.
Globally, 3.07 million CGTs of new orders were placed in January, presenting a 72 percent month-on-month growth. By type, LNG carriers of more than 140,000 cubic meters and 12,000-TEU(twenty-foot equivalent unit) container vessels made up 67 percent of total orders.
China State Shipbuilding Corp's Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co Ltd received a record order worth 7.5 billion yuan ($1.17 billion) for the construction of six 174,000-cubic-meter LNG carriers from Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines.
This is the largest single LNG carrier order Chinese shipbuilders have received in the past decade, both in terms of vessel number and contract value, said the Shanghai-based shipbuilder.
According to Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, the vessel measures 299 meters in length and 46.4 meters in width. It is among the most advanced LNG carriers in terms of design, technology and equipment, as well as sustainability and performance.
"Inspired by CSSC's strategy for high-quality development, Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding sticks to adopting green shipbuilding innovations, constantly optimizes and upgrades its LNG carriers' design and construction craftsmanship, and steadily enhances construction standards to ensure the orderly construction and timely delivery of the ships of high quality," said Chen Jianliang, chairman of Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding.
Chen said Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding is currently constructing nine LNG carriers, and holding a total order of 23 LNG carriers. Their delivery schedule is fully booked through 2025.
A total of 85 LNG vessels were ordered globally in 2021 and their combined capacity reached 13.5 million cubic meters. This is a big leap from 54 in 2020, said Clarkson. It projected strong demand for LNG carriers this year.
China has retaken the world's largest shipbuilder ranking by accounting for nearly half of global new ship orders in 2021 with 22.8 million CGTs comprising 965 vessels. A total of 45.73 million CGTs for 1,846 vessels of new ship orders were placed across the world in 2021. South Korea accounted for 38 percent of the orders.
As the world's largest shipbuilder, CSSC alone received 21.5 percent of new orders last year, topping the rankings globally.
The secret for achieving outstanding performance despite the COVID-19 pandemic is the group's strategic positioning for high-quality development, exploration of market trends, strong risk control, rapid transformation and upgrade, and multiple channel resources.
The global shipping industry welcomed its best year in 2021 as shipping operators ordered more vessels given soaring shipping fares and rising demand. Chinese shipyards benefited from the development.
Many Chinese shipbuilders also launched green ship models to meet the latest international environmental requirements.
Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co Ltd delivered on Jan 28 the world's first 209,000-DWT (dead-weight ton) Newcastle dual-fuel powered bulk carrier to Singapore EPS.
Boasting green, environmentally friendly, energy-saving and safety standards, the ship is 299.5 meters long and 50 meters wide. It was developed and designed independently by Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding. It can be powered both with LNG and conventional fuel.
Zhou Dequan, director of the Shanghai International Shipping Institute's domestic shipping research office, said requirements for energy saving and environment protection contributed to a good portion of new vessel orders worldwide.
Li Yanqing, secretary-general of the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry, expects China's shipbuilding industry to maintain steady growth in 2022.
The development of Chinese shipbuilders is well balanced. They can construct mainstream vessels, as well as specialized ones with soaring demand. In the meantime, their competitiveness is also on the rise due to their enhancement in construction efficiency and quality, Li said.
"The rapid recovery of China's industrial supply chain since the outbreak of COVID-19 made China one of the best options for placing shipbuilding orders," Li added.