Last week I went to visit shipyards in North-East China, together with two of my colleagues from Shanghai.
On Tuesday, day 1 we flew from Shanghai to Yantai in Shandong province. Yantai is famous for its wine and fruit, like apples and peaches. It also has a small beach, which is very popular this time of the year. The weather is quite pleasant this time of the year, and not as hot and humid as Shanghai in summer. Above all, the air is much cleaner too. After arriving in Yantai we first looked for a place to have lunch. The Japanese restaurant in the ‘Machinery Hotel’ was closed unfortunately. Instead we went to one of the many good Korean restaurants in this town.
The first yard we visited was Penglai Zhongbai Jinglu Ship Industry. Originally this company used to be in the fishery business, and as many others tries to jump on the bandwagon of the booming shipbuilding industry in China. The yard itself is still under construction, but there already 20 vessels in the order book, of which 16 confirmed. The first two will be two 5,500 dwt product tankers for a Swedish owner. They will save about 30% by building the ships here, instead of Europe, and take the massive delays and substandard quality for granted.
On day 2 we went to Yantai Raffles Shipyard. The yard has been around for quite a few years, and has built up a name in the offshore industry. They are building semi-submersible drilling rigs, FPSO’s, pipe laying vessels, and specialized heavy lift and transport vessels, but also bulk carriers and mega-yachts like the 76 meter motor yacht ‘Nero’ for a Turkish owner. On the pictures the entrance of the yard with the nearly completed 20,000 tons gantry crane, and the nearly completed ‘Nero’. Also at this yard the projects suffer from delays due to incompetent management and workforce.
The next day we were supposed to be in Dalian. However plane tickets were sold out for the next two days. So we took the night ferry from Yantai to Dalian, which does the passage in about 7 hours. Our vessel was the ‘Bang Chui Dao’, built together with her sister vessel the ‘Hai Yang Dao’ by Van der Giessen-de Noord in the Netherlands in 1995.
In the morning of day 3 we visited Dalian Shipbuilding Industry, which is a fusion of Dalian Shipyard and Dalian New Shipyard. This is one of the top new building yards in China, with an impressive order portfolio. After an excellent seafood lunch (the seafood in Dalian is the best in China, and I believe the only that is safe also) and visiting some purchasing agents in the afternoon, we continued our trip by plane to Qingdao, the largest port of Shandong province. On Friday, day 4 we visited Qingdao Hyundai Shipbuilding, a joint venture between a local yard and the famous Korean ship builder. Finally in the afternoon it was time to go back to Shanghai, and enjoy a well earned weekend.