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Puxi Factory upgrades to build boxships

Shanghai: The throng of Chinese ship repair sites and block-building facilities upgrading to shipbuilding shows no end in sight. Puxi Factory, a part of Shanghai Shipyard & Chengxi Shipyard Co, which falls under the umbrella of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, will install a 150-ton gantry crane to allow it to start building ships from December 2007.

The site has two slipways - 262m x 44m and 205m x 36m - that will allow it to build up to six 3,500 teu ships a year. Puxi, which stands for west of the Huangpu river, has been a repair site to date.

The news follows Tsuji Heavy Industries' debut as a shipbuilder in China, announced this week. The Japanese yard had had a block building/repair site in Jiangsu, which has just won a license from central government to build ships, with Clipper coming onboard for a 12 handymax order.

Likewise oil conglomerate Titan Group is now mixing its commitment to repair ships at its new yard in southern China with newbuild projects.

Japan's Tsuneishi Shipbuilding maintains it is simply building blocks in China yet to all intents and purposes it is building very close to fully built ships at its facility on Shuzan island in the Zhoushan archipelago.

With Tsuji becoming the first ever-foreign firm to be granted approval to build ships in China, a barrier for investment for so long that has kept the likes of Korea's Hanjin Heavy and STX Shipbuilding on the sidelines, many foreign shipbuilding companies will likely rush to China to make use of the cheaper resources and abundant labour. 

Expect Daewoo and Samsung, both big block builders on the mainland already, to convert to newbuilds soon.  [19.07.06]

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