The first phase of the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipyard (SWS) was completed over the weekend --- a move that dramatically bolsters the city's already potent shipbuilding capacity.
Construction of the shipyard, by far the largest and the most advanced in the country, began four years ago and it has been listed as one of the country's key projects.
With an investment of 3.214 billion yuan (US$389 million), the first phase includes two world-class docks and five production centres covering 1.46 million square metres of the total designed area of 2.1 million square metres.
Since May of 2001 when SWS obtained its initial order from China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co (COSCO), the shipbuilder has received orders for over 4 million tons from clients in Belgium, Greece, the United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan. That total almost equals the present annual shipbuilding performance of the entire country.
The orders have been scheduled through 2007, according to SWS spokesman He Baoxin.
With the implementation of scientific management and advanced staff training, SWS is expected to expand its annual shipbuilding capacity to 2 million tons, although the designed annual capacity of the first phase is only 1.05 million tons.
"Boosted by the State guideline to develop China into the largest shipmaker, SWS will lose no time exerting its full capacity in winning the world market," said Chen Qiang, general manager of SWS.
The State Development and Reform Commission has given the green light for launching construction of the second phase of SWS next year. With an investment of around 1 billion yuan (US$121 million), it will take a little over one year to complete.
With the completion of the second phase, the designed capacity of SWS will reach 1.8 million tons annually, and by 2010 its actual capacity will reach 2.6 million tons a year, Chen revealed.
SWS has already handed over two ships, and the environmentally-friendly Capesize cargo ship Xinwang Hai, owned by COSCO, is to be handed over soon.
Chen said SWS has developed four types of ships, the 175,000-ton Capesize cargo ship, the 105,000-ton Aframax crude oil tanker and the 150,000-ton and 170,000-ton FPSO.
Experts noted the smooth operation of SWS is a major move that matches the goal of Shanghai to develop itself into the largest shipbuilding centre in the world.