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Shipbuilding Industry Advancing

China's shipbuilding industry has reaped a good harvest in the past year and will keep on growing rapidly in the new year, Chen Xiaojin, general manager of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) said here yesterday.

CSSC, as the backbone of China's shipbuilding industry, accomplished building 3.57 million tons of ships in 2004, recording a year-on-year growth of 64.5 per cent. And its export sector achieved a yearly growth of 73.8 per cent.

CSSC also received orders of 4.6 million tons in 2004, 88.5 per cent of which were purchased by foreign owners.

By now, the total orders of CSSC have accumulated to 13 million tons.

"We have worked out a 10-year development plan and in 2015, we will not only grow up into the world's No 1 ship-maker in terms of total production volume, but also in terms of ship-making science and technology," Chen said at a naming ceremony of a 175,000-ton cargo boat made by its affiliate, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co(SWS).

Chen said that China's ship-making is now at a very favourable and sustainable development period and the ambition of CSSC to lead world shipbuilding by 2015 is very positive to be realized.

To ensure the goal to be achieved, CSSC has initiated a project of constructing two shipbuilding bases, one in Shanghai's Changxing Island and the other in Longxue of South China's Guangdong Province.

Meanwhile, the CSSC has increased investment in developing and optimizing new ship types and it has made significant achievement in developing high added-value LNG (liquefied natural gas,), VLCC (very large crude carrier) of 300,000 tons, and very large container vessels and FPSO (float production storage and offloading.)

"We are bidding for building an FPSO of 300,000 tons for a US owner. If successful, that will be a milestone for us," said Tan Zuojun, vice- general-manager of CSSC and chairman of SWS.

SWS, whose construction was accomplished and passed national review in October of 2003, led the country's ship-makers by building 1.745 million tons in 2004, and all the 12 ships it has built have been handed over before schedule.

Holding orders of near 6 million tons, the production of SWS has been arranged until the second half of 2007.

Tan said in 2005, the shipyard is sure to build more than 1.7 million tons of ships.

The boat delivered to its owner - the US-based Foremost Maritime Corp - here yesterday was delivered two months in advance, which much pleased James Chao and his daughter Angela Chao, chairman and senior vice-president of the company.

Stephen K Green, group chief executive of HSBC Holdings plc, who attended the naming ceremony of the boat told China Daily that he was amazed by the fast growth of China's shipbuilding industry and he said he believed that China would gain a much larger share in this field.

According to the data provided by China Ship-building Economic Research Centre, 2004 was a summit year for ordering new boats in the world's ship-building history as about 100 million tons of new boats were commissioned.

Under the joint impact of the fast-developing global trade, limited shipbuilding capacity, price-hikes for steel materials and the weak US dollar, boat prices soared in 2004.

Data presented by the centre showed that the prices of 12 types of boats such as oil tanks, cargo boats, standard container vessels and LNG increased by 29 per cent on average.

"By now, the price of new boats has almost resumed at the highest level of the early 1990s. And we are waiting to see better prices before we take any new orders," said SWS spokesman He Baoxin."

Researchers in the centre said in 2004, China built about 9 million tons of ships and boats, accounting for 15 per cent of the world's market while the orders the industry signed in 2004 accounted for 17 per cent of the world's total.

They also predicted that the price of boats would continue to grow in the new year, or even by more than 10 per cent.

It is also expected that China will receive orders for 65 to 70 million tons of boats and production will exceed 10 million tons in 2005.

(China Daily January 5, 2005)

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