In 2022, the global newbuilding market for large liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers is showing an unprecedented “blowout” situation. As the national team of China’s shipbuilding industry, China Shipbuilding Group Corporation gave full play to the group’s overall advantages, took the initiative, rose to the challenge and seized the opportunity, and made a major breakthrough in the operation and undertaking of large LNG carriers, which became the biggest highlight of the high-quality development of China’s shipbuilding industry in 2022.
According to statistics, China Shipbuilding Group signed 49 orders for large LNG carriers with a contract value of more than USD 10 billion last year, and the global market share of total orders jumped from less than 7% in 2021 to nearly 30% in 2022, forming a new pattern of LNG carrier construction market alongside with the three major Korean shipping companies. At the same time, the order structure was diversified, and for the first time, the company achieved cooperation with many important international customers, demonstrating the strong technical strength and strong market influence of China’s shipbuilding industry.
Advance Layout and Joint Efforts to Promote
In order to fully implement the strategy of “strong shipbuilding” and achieve high-quality development of China’s shipbuilding industry, China Shipbuilding Group (CSG) has, since the beginning of 2020, accurately predicted the market trend and decisively launched the project to enhance the construction capacity of large LNG carriers, deciding to let Jiangnan Shipbuilding (Group) Co. Ltd. under China Shipbuilding Group to enter the field of large LNG carrier construction, and form a layout of large LNG carrier construction capacity of “two locations, three plants and two types” with Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co.
At the same time, China Shipbuilding Group has set up a major project office for civil vessels to further increase the top-level planning and coordination of major projects such as large LNG carriers, and set up a group-level expert group for large LNG carriers to carry out guidance and consultation on ship type research and development, construction technology, capacity building, quality and safety, risk prevention and control, etc., so as to accelerate the enhancement of large LNG carrier construction capacity and provide strong support for market expansion. Provide strong support for market expansion. Ltd. as the main platform and channel for marketing of China Shipbuilding Group’s shipping and marine business, and jointly set up a large LNG carrier market development team with Hudong-Zhonghua, Jiangnan Shipbuilding and Dalian Shipbuilding 3 assembly yards to promote the work plan of China Shipbuilding Group to enhance the capacity of large LNG carriers to potential customers in multiple channels and in all aspects, focusing on strategic customers and actively develop strong customers in the oil and gas field, and make every effort to promote the market development work of large LNG carriers.
Careful Organization Market Development
In accordance with the requirements of China Shipbuilding Group, the market development team carried out all-round market management work around the objectives of “promoting Hudong-Zhonghua to become bigger and stronger, achieving bulk orders and stabilizing the international market; realizing the first order breakthrough of Jiangnan Shipbuilding and Dalian Shipbuilding as soon as possible”. We insist on solving short-term problems and planning long-term development at the same time, strengthen problem orientation and top-level design, focus on the upstream, midstream and downstream of the LNG industry chain, intensify market development for LNG carriers, and make full use of the brand effect of China Shipbuilding Group to dig deeper into potential customer resources. Especially worth mentioning is that the relevant departments of China Shipbuilding Group also actively promoted the high-level meeting between China Shipbuilding Group, central shipowners and charterers, and achieved extensive consensus. The market development team took the initiative to maintain close collaboration with these shipowners and charterers, seized the upward window of LNG carrier market and successfully signed large LNG carrier construction projects with central enterprise customers such as CNPC, CNOOC and Sinopec.
Especially in terms of the first order breakthrough, China Shipbuilding Group realized that in order to break the game as soon as possible, it must give full play to the brand effect of the century-old yards of Jiangnan Shipbuilding and Dalian Shipbuilding, and decided to focus the first order breakthrough direction of the two shipbuilders on the strategic customers and old customers of China Shipbuilding Group, which finally led to the UAE Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and China Merchants Energy Transportation Company Limited becoming the first order breakthrough customers of Jiangnan Shipbuilding and Dalian Shipbuilding respectively. Ltd. became the first single breakthrough customers of Jiangnan Shipbuilding and Dalian Shipbuilding respectively
Innovative Model Technology Leading
In the process of landing the first single project of Dalian Shipbuilding, the market development team of China Shipbuilding Group, based on the long-term good cooperation between China Merchant Shipbuilding and Dalian Shipbuilding, gave full play to its own financial leasing function and established a joint venture company with China Merchant Shipbuilding to dispel the customer’s concerns and strengthen the customer’s confidence, and finally ensured the smooth landing of the project through business model innovation.
In the process of promoting the first single breakthrough of Jiangnan Shipbuilding, the market development team of China Shipbuilding Group chose Abu Dhabi National Oil Company of the United Arab Emirates, which is both an LNG trader and an old customer of Jiangnan Shipbuilding, as the breakthrough direction.
For its part, Hudong-Zhonghua intervened in a timely manner at the early stage of the project and directed charterers’ demand in a targeted manner. Especially in domestic LNG carrier projects such as China National Offshore Oil and Xin’ao Energy, it has set a precedent of deep cooperation with charterers and created a model of win-win cooperation for LNG carriers “made in China”.
Of course, no matter what business model is adopted, the most critical factor to attract customers is always technical strength. With its strong R&D capability, Hudong-Zhonghua has successfully developed and launched the latest “G5 Changheng” series of 174,000 cubic meters LNG carriers. This type of vessel stood out in the competition with many shipyards in Japan and South Korea and was the first to successfully win the Qatar Energy LNG project, which also laid a solid foundation for subsequent bulk orders. In addition, Hudong-Zhonghua also attaches great importance to the independent research and development of core supporting products and materials for LNG carriers. For example, during the promotion of the relevant project, it launched the first ship type that used domestic Yin tile steel as the material for the cargo enclosure system.
Considering that Jiangnan Shipbuilding and Dalian Shipbuilding entered the field of large LNG carrier construction for the first time, China Shipbuilding Group, from the perspective of the LNG industry chain, decided to adopt the Mark III thin film cargo enclosure system from GTT of France, which has many years of cooperation experience with the two shipyards, in order to reduce the initial investment and shorten the construction cycle with relatively mature ship types, and at the same time, integrate the latest design concepts in the ship design process. At the same time, the latest design concepts are integrated into the ship design process, and new concepts including global LNG shore station compatibility simulation analysis, the latest host emission control system, air lubrication drag reduction, etc. are applied. It is through the introduction, digestion, absorption and reinvention that Jiangnan Shipbuilding and Dalian Shipbuilding have been able to successfully receive their first orders and subsequent bulk orders.