China's shipbuilding tonnage is expected to reach a record high of more than 12.5 million this year, grabbing 17 percent of the global shipbuilding market, up from 14.3 percent in 2004.
The tonnage this year will grow by some 42 percent from 8.8 million last year, said Zhu Rujing, an analyst with Beijing-based China Shipbuilding Economy Research Centre.
Growth of China's shipbuilding tonnage will account for most of the global growth, which will increase to 71.2 million this year from 61.4 million in 2004, Zhu said.
According to statistics from China Shipbuilding Industry Association, the nation's shipbuilding tonnage jumped by 49 percent year-on-year to 8.92 million in the first three quarters of this year.
Zhu predicted the nation's shipbuilding tonnage will continue to grow steadily in 2006 as a result of mounting capacity of domestic shipyards and abundant orders.
Shipbuilding tonnage in China is expected to reach 15 million in 2006, which will enable the nation to hold 20 percent of the world's shipbuilding tonnage, he said.
Despite the rapid growth, China will continue to be the world's third biggest shipbuilding country following Japan and South Korea, Zhu said.
Both Japan and South Korea now control more than 30 percent of global shipbuilding market.
"Many Chinese shipyards appear short of capacity to satisfy the world's strong ship demand," Zhu said.
On Tuesday, China Shipbuilding Industry Corp (CSIC), one of the nation's biggest conglomerates in the industry, signed a contract with a domestic shipping group to build 16 vessels, including very large crude carriers and other ships for liquefied petroleum gas and refined oil.
The deal was worth nearly 6 billion yuan (US$740 million).
CSIC said its shipbuilding tonnage would reach 3 million this year.
However, Zhu warned of overcapacity starting from the second half of 2008 because domestic shipyards are developing massively, and growth of global ship demand will slow down.
He estimated that total shipbuilding capacity in China would exceed 30 million tons by 2010, up from nearly 14 million at present.
CSIC said last month that it aimed to have a total capacity of more than 10 million tons by 2010.
Dalian Shipbuilding Industry (Group) Co Ltd, China's biggest single shipyard affiliated to CSIC, plans to expand its capacity to 6 million tons in 2010 from 2.6 million now.
Foreign shipbuilding giants, such as those from South Korea and Japan, are accelerating penetration into China, with some hoping to gain controlling stakes in Chinese shipyards, and even build wholly-owned shipyards.
But informed sources said China will ban foreign shipbuilding groups from doing this, with an anticipated new policy on the nation's shipbuilding sector.
China's ship exports have also been growing rapidly in recent years due to booming global ship demand.
Zhu said ship exports would exceed 7 million tons this year.
Statistics showed Chinese shipyards built 5.44 million tons of ships for export from January to September this year, up 30 percent from a year ago.
The ship export value surged by 45.5 percent to US$3.18 billion during the period.
(China Daily December 30, 2005)