Purposeful Chinese

The growing stature of Chinese shipbuilding on the international stage is all the more impressive for the extent to which the industry is embracing specialized vessel categories and higher addedvalue forms of tonnage.

Whereas the output spread from other parts of the Far East is limited by the huge volume production requirements of large yards engaged in the lowmargin fields of ship construction, China's shipyards are developing an ever-wider portfolio. A growing capacity is underpinned by a propensity for meeting shipowners' specific needs across a very broad platform. To a large extent, the development is export-led, although the response to new domestic needs is also cultivating a broader industrial marine base.

One example is provided by Jiangnan Shipyard's current construction of the first of possibly two train ferries to link the Chinese mainland with the southern island of Hainan. This pioneering project, based on a home-grown design, entails a vessel type offering a loading capacity for about 40 railfreight wagons, or alternatively 50 light trucks, plus facilities for 1,200 passengers.

Technical design work has also been carried out elsewhere in China for another infrastructural scheme, which envisions a new breed of rail ferry for a much longer route between Dalian and Yantai, across the Bohai Strait.

Sophisticated domestic projects of this nature provide a technical basis for future forays into the export newbuild market.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 27,  Oct 2002 New Jersey

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First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.