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China maintains top position in global shipbuilding sector for 14 years

ISLAMABAD (PEN) : China witnessed strong expansion in output, new orders and orders on hand in the past year, with the three major indicators securing the top position in the global shipbuilding market for 14 consecutive years, according to data released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Monday.

China has also become the only country in the world to achieve comprehensive growth in the three indicators.

CGTN infographic by Sun Yiwen

CGTN infographic by Sun Yiwen

In the past 12 months, China’s shipbuilding output reached 42.32 million deadweight tonnes (dwt), a year-on-year increase of 11.8 percent, accounting for 50.2 percent of the world’s total.

The new orders rose 56.4 percent year on year to 71.2 million dwt during the period, taking up 66.6 percent of the world’s total.

By the end of December, the volume of orders on hand was 139.39 million dwt, up 32 percent year on year, accounting for 55 percent of the world’s total.

In 2023, five Chinese shipbuilding enterprises ranked in the global top 10 in output, seven in top 10 for new order volume, and six for holding orders, said the MIIT.

‘Three pearls’ bagged

China’s shipbuilding industry rounded off the past year after bagging the third “pearl in the crown.”

Large liquefied natural gas carriers, aircraft carriers and large cruise liners are known as the “three pearls” for their intricacy and complexity.

With the delivery of Adora Magic City, the country’s first independently built large cruise ship, China claimed all the “three pearls” in 2023.

The superliner just finished the inaugural commercial voyage earlier this month, taking more than 3,000 passengers to Japan’s Nagasaki and Fukuoka and South Korea’s Jeju Island during a seven-day, six-night trip.

It will expand the routes to include more options in the future, such as Southeast Asian and Belt and Road partner countries.

CGTN infographic

CGTN infographic

Building a large cruise ship is veritably giant engineering. Adora Magic City, for example, consists of more than 25 million components, five times that of the C919 aircraft and 13 times that of the Fuxing high-speed train.

The large amount of engineering materials, high technical difficulty and complex supply chain coordination make its design and construction extremely complicated, which has long been monopolized by a few European shipyards.

Chinese researchers had been devoted to making breakthroughs in key technologies concerning fields like weight control and gravity, vibration and noise, as well as navigation safety. It took eight years of scientific research and five years of design and construction before the ship was delivered in November 2023.

“China is gradually forming local standards and technical systems for cruise ships, laying a solid foundation for the realization of completely independent design and construction of cruise ships,” said Chen Gang, general manager of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.