The rivalry between local authorities in China may be what spoiled a year-long, 20-voyage industrial transport project, leading to an arbitration claim of some $42m by Dutch heavylift specialist Boskalis.

The debacle has come to light as the result of an arbitration battle. An affiliate of Texas-based contractor Fluor Corp persuaded an International Chamber of Commerce panel that Boskalis bore the lion’s share of the blame for what happened to a programme to ship prefabricated refinery modules from China to Kuwait.