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China rises to top in ranks of ship makers

Source:   Time:

BEIJING, May 9 (Xinhuanet) -- China, if measured by the number of ships it produces and the number of orders it receives for such vessels, is the foremost shipbuilder in the world.

Still, the country needs more time to become a real superpower in the shipbuilding industry, said a senior industry official.

China became the foremost shipbuilder in the world in 2010 and aims to become the builder of the most advanced ships by 2015, Li Dong, vice-director of equipment industry department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, told a press conference on Saturday.

In 2010, China built ships with a total deadweight capacity of 65.6 million tons, accounting for 43 percent of the deadweight capacity of ships built in the world, he said.

In the same year, China received orders for the construction of ships with a total deadweight capacity of 75.2 million tons, making up 54 percent of the new orders in the world.

Also in 2010, the country was trying to catch up with unfulfilled orders for ships with 195.9 million tons of deadweight capacity, accounting for 41 percent of the unfulfilled orders for ships in the world.

"China has surpassed South Korea to become the foremost shipbuilder in the world," said Steen Brodsgaard Lund, executive vice-president and head of maritime services Asia-Pacific of the Germanischer Lloyd SE , a German classification society based in Hamburg.

"This momentum is likely to be maintained as China's booming shipbuilding industry is now on its way to become the world's leading shipbuilding nation from a quantity perspective and also continues to make impressive quality improvements."

Li said China, as part of its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), is looking to move from being a great sea power to a shipbuilding superpower.

Still, the country lags behind other shipbuilding powers in its ability to innovate and improve the technology used on seagoing vessels, he said.

Hu Keyi, technical director of Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co Ltd, is confident China enjoys great prospects in the shipbuilding industry.

"I want to answer those who wrongly hold that China's shipbuilding industry is too weak to compete with those of other nations, such as Japan and South Korea," he told China Daily in an exclusive interview this year. "As a matter of fact, after more than 10 years of rapid development with support from both State-owned banks and government policy, we can build high-end ships just as well as our counterparts."

Hu conceded China lags behind countries like Japan, the United States and South Korea in the construction of high-tech ships. Still, he said, China has advantages.

Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing Heavy Industry Co Ltd, which is affiliated with the 146-year-old Jiangnan Shipyard, recently received an order from a German ship owner for the construction six containerships, each with a capacity of 9,000 twenty-foot equivalent units.

"Those are the largest of their kind that have ever been designed in China," Hu said. "The order shows Chinese shipyard's ability to build containerships in accordance with international standards."

He said business between Chinese shipyards and overseas clients will spread the reputation of vessels made in China.

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