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China Now Produces More Than Half of All New Tonnage

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Image courtesy CSSC

Published Dec 17, 2023 8:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

This has been yet another good year for China’s shipbuilding sector, which has continued to dominate both in output and number of new orders. New data released last week by the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, show that China has maintained a strong market share in the first 11 months of 2023.

According to the data, China’s shipbuilding output rose 12 percent year on year to 38 million deadweight tons during the January-November period. This represents 50.1 percent of the world’s total.

New orders totaled 65 million dwt, representing an increase of 64 percent year on year. Additionally, the ministry said that the sector’s holding orders totaled 134 million dwt at the end of November. This volume represents 53 percent of the global market share.

Last year, BIMCO said Chinese shipyards had reached a market share of 47 percent and for the first time exceeded the combined market share of Japanese and South Korean shipyards. Twenty years ago, Chinese shipyards had a market share of less than 10 percent, but thanks to a massive capacity expansion in the early 2000s, China has been able to claim a top position in global shipbuilding.

China’s shipbuilding success could be attributed to positioning itself as premier location for building containerships. Most of the ultra-large 24,000 TEU boxships floated out this year have been built in Chinese shipyards. The sector has also become a powerhouse in building military vessels, including aircraft carriers.

In addition, China is also making inroads in building LNG carriers, which is currently the second largest ship sector within the global order book. South Korea remains a market leader in higher-margin gas carriers and dual-fuel vessels.

Overall, Chinese shipbuilders exported ships worth $21 billion in the first 10 months of this year, up 21 percent from the same period last year, according to data by China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry. High demand and higher prices have helped: in its Q3 shipping market report, Maritime Strategies International noted that benchmark newbuild prices were around 30-50 percent higher compared to the end of 2020.