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Digital Maritime Week

The outlook for Chinese shipbuilding

Over the last 12 months China’s shipbuilding industry has seen the merger of CSSC and CSIC and the impact of Covid-19, and a Marintec China webinar explored its current state and what lies ahead.

The webinar, part of Digital Maritime Week, saw Dr Wang Jin-bao, Researcher in Ship Hydrodynamics, Marine Design and Research Institute of China (MARIC); Chairman of ITTC Specialist committee on Ship in Operation at Sea; and Deputy Director of SSNAME in conversation with Seatrade Maritime Review editor Bob Jaques.

Looking at the CSSC and CSIC merger Dr Wang noted that it was a re-merger with CSSC having been a single company up until 1999.

“This is not just a simple combination, it’s a new integration of functions and specialities now you see in this new group each company will focus on its advantages. They will also try to avoid low level competition and try to realign high quality development,” he explained. The merged CSSC will also focus on designing and producing low emission vessels.

With the Covid-19 pandemic starting in China back in January the country’s shipbuilding went into an extended shutdown from the Lunar New Year for much of a two-month period, however, things are now largely back to normal.

“Now almost all shipbuilding yards have almost recovered to the level before the pandemic, we do meet with some problems because of the worldwide virus influence,” Dr Wang explained.

However, with the pandemic spreading worldwide it has had a different kind of impact on Chinese yards – this time from its customers. With the difficulties of international in recent months yards have turned to video conference and digital solutions to sign contracts, and deliver vessels. China is now starting to open some “Green channels” for business travellers and Dr Wang said, “I think this will make it possible for shipowners or inspectors to visit China.”

The virus is also impacting newbuilding demand orders for some vessels by international owners have been deferred. Dr Wang in particular noted some orders for containerships had been deferred.

Looking ahead as to how Chinese shipbuilders will cope with reduced international demand for newbuidings he said: “I believe there will be some hard times for the whole world shipbuilding industry, however, I believe China will try to upgrade the level [of its shipyards] and also try to increase the domestic demand to make shipbuilding develop more sustainably and stably.”

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