China’s government plans a massive consolidation of shipyards so that the 10 largest players control 70% of the nation’s shipbuilding, Lloyd’s List has reported.
Coming during a general downturn in Chinese shipbuilding, the news may signal that the government is ready at last to push ahead with consolidation. New orders at China’s 2,000 shipyards fell by 29m dwt, or 43% in the first nine months of 2011, compared with the same period in 2010.
China has expanded its shipyards as part of a state-mandated policy to become the world’s largest shipbuilding nation. In 2010 it overtook South Korea, but has fallen back into second position this year. Orders have fallen for dry bulk ships and tankers, while South Korea has benefited from new orders for liquefied natural gas carriers and ultra-large boxships, dominating the market for these more sophisticated vessels.
China has already consolidated its mining and steel industries. If shipbuilding follows suit, the most likely survivors will be the larger state-owned yards such as CSSC and China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. Together, the two yards generate about 30% of the nation’s total orderbook.