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New Record in Shipbuilding in 2003 Set

China's shipbuilding sector built an estimated six million dead weight tons (DWT) of ships in 2003, a record high and up 46 percent year-on-year, an official source said Beijing Tuesday.

Zhang Guangqin, deputy director of China's Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, which oversees the shipbuilding sector, said the figure represented about a 10-percent share of the world's market.

The new ships Chinese shipyards built last year accounted for 18 percent of the world's total in terms of tonnage, as against 13percent in the previous year, while new orders it clenched in 2003totaled 18 million tons, up 173 percent, the official said.

The overall tonnage for orders the country's shipbuilding sector has yet to deliver stands at 25 million tons, an increase of 93 percent.

The deputy director noted that the country's shipbuilding sector would have to work at full capacity until the end of 2006 to deliver the ships ordered by its domestic and overseas clients.

"We do not have to worry about lack of work in the coming three years," said the official.

China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), the country's leading shipyard, built ships totaling 2.17 million tons in 2003, twice as much as that of the previous year. It also boasts a 253 percent year-on-year increase in total tonnage in newly-clenched orders to 8.7 million tons.

China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, another of the country's shipbuilding giants, reported construction of ships totaling 1.65 million tons, up 20 percent, with new ship orders it received in 2003 up 244 percent to 4.2 million tons.

To date, the shipyard has orders for new ships totaling seven million tons.

Local shipyards reported new ship orders of a combined 5.8 million dead weight tons.

CSSC began construction on the Changxing Shipbuilding Base on the Shanghai coast in 2003, which will be the largest shipyard of its kind in the world after the project is completed in 2015.

The base was built on Changxing Island with a water frontage of eight km. Its annual shipbuilding capacity would reach eight million tons when it is completed in 2015, said the CSSC president Chen Xiaojin.

(Xinhua News Agency January 6, 2004)

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