A newly built container vessel is being acclaimed as the most powerful and sophisticated merchant ship ever constructed in China.
The Berlin Express, with capacity equivalent to 2,700 20-foot containers, was built for Hapag-Lloyd AG of Hamburg, West Germany, in Shanghai's Hudong yard.The ship, displacing 41,700 tons, was launched June 26. It measures 767 feet long by 105 feet wide, with sailing speed of 21 knots and maximum continuous range of 24,000 nautical miles.
"Since China can build this ship, it is surely able to build any kind of ship except for a few unusual ones," the Beijing Review magazine said, quoting an unidentified "international shipbuilding expert."
The vessel was jointly designed by Chinese shipbuilders and Shefco Ship Design of West Germany.
It includes such advances as an asymmetrical bulb stern, automatic telecontrol on the bridge, central engine room control and an emergency telecontrol apparatus.
Hu Chuanzhi, general manager of China State Shipbuilding Corp., told the magazine mainland shipyards delivered vessels amounting to 470,000 tons from contracts signed last year for 580,000 tons.
In the year through through May, Chinese yards constructed six ships totaling 230,000 tons for clients in the United States, Norway, West Germany, Bangladesh and Singapore, Mr. Hu said earlier this year.
They earned US$10 million and included an 80,000-ton tanker, a 65,000-ton freighter and a 12,300-ton containership, he said.
Official forecasts call for construction of 27 ships totaling 320,000 tons for export this year out of a total order book of 518,000 tons.
Shanghai is the main shipbuilding center of China. Its yards produced 2.9 million tons of newbuildings in the last decade, more than the total for the previous 29 years, officials say. Output also includes navigation equipment and ancillary items.
Mr. Hu acknowledged in late June that weeks of unrest in China, capped by the army's crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing, had disrupted work and aborted some orders.
China Shipbuilding, the country's principal builder, has 26 main yards. Mr. Hu said total output value for the first five months was 1.8 billion yuan (US$486 million), a 28 percent gain on the previous year.