China’s Shipbuilding Dominance Soars in 2023, Secures 50% Global Market Share

Strategic Expansion and Technological Prowess Propel Chinese Shipyards to Unprecedented Heights in Global Maritime Industry.

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In the maritime sector, the year 2023 has proven to be another remarkable period for China’s shipbuilding industry, reaffirming its supremacy in both production volume and the acquisition of new orders. Recent data released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology underscores China’s sustained dominance in the market throughout the first 11 months of the year.

The statistics reveal a notable 12 percent year-on-year surge in China’s shipbuilding output, reaching an impressive 38 million deadweight tons from January to November. This output constitutes a commanding 50.1 percent share of the global total. Concurrently, new orders experienced a remarkable upswing, escalating by 64 percent year on year to an aggregate of 65 million deadweight tons. Furthermore, the sector’s standing orders stood at an imposing 134 million deadweight tons at the close of November, capturing 53 percent of the worldwide market share.

Last year, the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) reported that Chinese shipyards had secured a market share of 47 percent, surpassing the combined market presence of Japanese and South Korean shipyards for the first time. Two decades ago, China’s shipyards commanded less than 10 percent of the market, but strategic capacity expansions in the early 2000s propelled China to the forefront of global shipbuilding.

China’s ascendancy in shipbuilding can be attributed to its positioning as the premier hub for constructing containerships, with a substantial number of the recently launched ultra-large 24,000 TEU boxships originating from Chinese shipyards. Moreover, the nation has emerged as a formidable force in the construction of military vessels, including aircraft carriers.

In addition to these achievements, China is making notable strides in building LNG carriers, constituting the second-largest sector in the global order book. South Korea maintains its leadership in higher-margin gas carriers and dual-fuel vessels.

Overall, Chinese shipbuilders have recorded ship exports valued at $21 billion in the initial 10 months of this year, reflecting a robust 21 percent increase compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, as reported by the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry. This growth can be attributed to heightened demand and increased prices, with benchmark newbuild prices registering a notable 30-50 percent surge compared to the close of 2020, according to Maritime Strategies International’s Q3 shipping market report.

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