China’s Shipbuilding Triumph: A Year of Unprecedented Growth and Global Dominance
In 2023, China’s shipbuilding industry has once again demonstrated remarkable prowess, asserting its dominance through impressive output and a surge in new orders. The latest data from the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, released last week, underscores China’s continued stronghold in the global shipbuilding market for the first 11 months of the year.
During the January to November period, China’s shipbuilding output experienced a notable 12 percent year-on-year increase, reaching a substantial 38 million deadweight tons. This achievement represents a commanding 50.1 percent share of the world’s total shipbuilding output. Notably, the surge in output is a testament to China’s relentless commitment to maintaining its leading position in the industry.
The data further reveals a staggering 64 percent year-on-year increase in new orders, with a total of 65 million deadweight tons. As of the end of November, the sector’s holding orders stand at an impressive 134 million deadweight tons, capturing an imposing 53 percent of the global market share. This substantial market share indicates China’s firm grip on the shipbuilding industry, setting the stage for continued growth and influence.
Comparatively, the previous year saw BIMCO reporting Chinese shipyards securing a market share of 47 percent, surpassing the combined market share of Japanese and South Korean shipyards for the first time. The rapid ascent of Chinese shipyards is underscored by their market share, which, just two decades ago, languished at less than 10 percent. This remarkable transformation is attributed to China’s strategic capacity expansion in the early 2000s, propelling it to the forefront of global shipbuilding.
A pivotal factor in China’s shipbuilding success is its strategic positioning as a premier destination for constructing containerships. Notably, a significant number of ultra-large 24,000 TEU boxships launched in the current year were crafted in Chinese shipyards. Beyond container vessels, China has emerged as a formidable force in the construction of military vessels, including aircraft carriers, solidifying its reputation as a versatile and influential player in naval engineering.
The country is also making noteworthy strides in the construction of LNG (liquefied natural gas) carriers, a sector currently holding the position of the second-largest within the global order book. Although South Korea continues to lead in higher-margin gas carriers and dual-fuel vessels, China’s advancements underscore its expanding influence across various segments of the shipbuilding market.
In terms of global trade, Chinese shipbuilders have demonstrated their economic significance by exporting ships valued at an impressive $21 billion in the first ten months of the current year. This figure marks a substantial 21 percent increase compared to the same period the previous year. The surge in demand and higher prices in the industry has notably contributed to this economic milestone. According to data from the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry, Chinese shipbuilders are capitalizing on the prevailing market conditions, further solidifying their standing in the global shipbuilding arena.
A closer examination of the shipping market in the third quarter reveals that benchmark newbuild prices have witnessed a substantial increase of 30-50 percent compared to the end of 2020. This price surge, as noted by Maritime Strategies International, is indicative of the high demand and improved market conditions, providing Chinese shipbuilders with favorable economic dynamics for their continued expansion and success.
In conclusion, China’s shipbuilding sector has not only sustained its momentum but has also elevated its influence on the global stage. The impressive growth in output, new orders, and market share is a testament to China’s strategic investments and innovations in the shipbuilding industry. As the year draws to a close, China’s shipbuilding success story stands as a shining example of industrial prowess and economic resilience in an ever-evolving global market.