Technological innovation at the heart of Chinese shipbuilding
The Naval Architect September 2020
China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) has accepted 73 orders for vessels in the first half of 2020, equating to 5.35 million dwt, a 34.2% dwt increase compared to last year, which the company adds accounts for 30.4% of the global market share. CSSC attributes this significant business undertaking to scientific and technological innovation, an area it continues to focus upon, and that it acknowledges as the backbone of China’s shipbuilding industry and the leading force in marine equipment development.
Last month, CSSC held its scientific and technological innovation conference. Chairman of CSSC, Lei Fanpei, encapsulated the event’s core message with his speech: ‘Innovation drives development to provide strong momentum for building a world-class shipbuilding group.’
According to the company’s report, it is stressed that scientific and technological innovation should be placed at the centre of the CSSC’s overall development, and in order to continuously move ahead as a world class shipbuilding group innovation should be promoted based on strategic needs and realistic foundations.
CSSC comments that, going forward, it aims to focus on the key tasks related to scientific and technological innovation, which include strengthening autonomy and control, laying out major projects, promoting industrial development, improving the overall shipbuilding system and mechanisms, strengthening open cooperation, and creating a scientific and technological talent pool.
Within its business, CSSC added that it will strive to create an atmosphere that supports scientific and technological innovation, by strengthening organisational promotion, consolidating investment guarantees, strictly implementing responsibilities and carrying forward a culture of innovation.
During the conference CSSC pointed out that, since the implementation of China’s ‘13th Five Year Plan’, and particularly following its major merger between two state-owned shipbuilding corporations in November 2019 (formerly CSSC and China Shipbuilding Industry Company [CSIC]), the company has united and worked hard to gradually improve its system and mechanisms for technical innovation. Its major projects have also steadily progressed, CSSC notes, and adds that significant scientific and technological achievements continue to emerge.
The 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020), published by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is a plan and policy blueprint for the economic and social development of the People’s Republic of China, the 14th of which, for 2021-2025, is to be drafted this year.
The plan sets China’s strategic intentions and defines its major objectives and within the 13th edition, it aimed, across multiple industries including shipbuilding, to “encourage more of China’s equipment, technology, standards, and services to go global by engaging in international cooperation on production capacity and equipment manufacturing through overseas investment, project contracting, technology cooperation, equipment exporting and other means.”
This year the shipbuilding group has announced some significant technological advancements through its project work. Back in May, CSSC launched the world’s largest marine dual-fuel low-speed engine, WinGD X92DF, which had been developed by CSIC subsidiary, WinGD, and built by Shanghai CSSC Mitsui Shipbuilding Diesel Engine Co.
The launch could be considered a major breakthrough for CSSC in the field of ship power and propulsion, and it marks the development of the R&D and manufacturing sectors of Chinese shipbuilding’s independent high-end marine equipment.
In July, CSSC signed a strategic agreement focused on strengthening the country’s transportation and maritime sectors, in cooperation with China’s Maritime Safety Administration of the Ministry of Transport. Technology development again falls at the forefront of this partnership, as the agreement covers cooperation on intelligent transportation equipment, marine environmental protection technology and more.
The agreement targets the development and acceleration of high end-marine equipment in China, including equipment for cruise ships, large-scale LNG vessels, polar navigation vessels, and the construction of smart ships and their associated systems, technologies and by-products.
Supporting research into relevant technical regulations is another objective for the joint agreement, in order to provide policy and regulatory support for marine equipment being developed in China, and to accelerate its application.