Yard targets new markets

One of China’s largest shipbuilding conglomerates appears to be mounting a crusade aimed at breaking into segments dominated by rival clans in South Korea.

In an earnings presentation Yangzijiang Shipbuilding outlined plans to invest more money in research-and-development (R&D) under a broader bid to cash in on rising demand for large containerships and technologically-advanced tonnage like LPG carriers.

“Resources from other non-shipbuilding businesses will be gradually redeployed into shipbuilding and its related businesses, especially into R&D, to better meet market demand,” it said, adding:

“Demand [in the] shipping industry for vessels that are more complex and larger [is] rising as shipowners enhance their focus on vessels’ operational efficiencies.

“The group will continue to build on its shipbuilding capabilities in order to build new vessel types as well as vessels that are larger and more sophisticated.”

Yangzijiang said the health of the industry continued to improve during the second-quarter. The company claims newbuilding prices are on the rise and noted that it witnessed a steady flow of enquiries about new orders during the period as well.

The organisation also pointed out that one of its subsidiaries, Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding Co, recently secured what it described as a “New Technology Enterprise” accreditation.

While the development was not discussed in great detail management noted that the offshoot will enjoy a preferential income tax rate of 14% through 2016 as a result of the designation, which bodes well for the group as a whole and its campaign to “climb the value chain” .

Industry observers tell TradeWinds that they are not surprised that Yangzijiang is planning to target larger and more sophisticated types of tonnage. Some claim “many” of its compatriots have similar goals and believe more shipyards will follow suit in the months ahead.

During a recent trip to Busan an engineer who was hired by an owner to oversee the construction of LPG carriers at Hyundai Heavy Industries said he was aware of “several” Chinese yards that intend to break in to new markets dominated by South Korean competitors.

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