With Shanghai having gone into COVID lockdown, some of China’s biggest shipyards have been forced to temporarily shut down, while at least three have reportedly declared force majeure.
ccording to NBC News the shutdown happened rapidly, shuttering Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, Jiangnan Shipyard and Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding since mid-March. All three are owned by China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).
The importance of these yards is significant, as Hudong-Zhonghua is a leading Chinese builder of LNG carriers and Megamax-24 boxships, and Shanghai Waigaoqiao is building China’s first domestically-made full size crew ship.
In addition, Jiangnan and Hudong-Zhonghua also build destroyers, carriers and amphibious assault vessels for the PLA Navy.
CSSC has been investing heavily in order to expand its naval shipbuilding capacity at Jiangnan and Hudong-Zhonghua. The built-up land area for production at Jiangnan has grown by more than 60% since 2011, according to U.S. defense think tank CSIS.
What is more, Hudong-Zhonghua is in the process of relocating its entire operation to a new site on Changxing Island, away from central Shanghai’s residential districts.
The second phase of the new yard started development in 2021, and workers are now building a new dock basin at the 530-acre site. The project is on a tight timetable for completion in 2023, and CSSC has not yet indicated whether COVID-related delays might push back the opening.