SHANGHAI, China – Construction has begun on what China says will eventually be the world’s biggest shipyard, part of the country’s plan for taking a dominant role in the industry.
China’s biggest shipbuilding company began building the five-mile-long facility late last week on an island in the Yangtze river, north of Shanghai, state media reported.
The $3.6 billion new shipyard is meant to quadruple Shanghai’s current shipbuilding capacity to 12 million tons by 2015.
China, the world’s third-largest shipbuilder, has been eager to cash in on a global boom in shipping that has largely been a result of its own surging exports and demand for raw materials.
China now holds about 10 percent of the world shipbuilding market; South Korea and Japan combined now make three-quarters of the world’s ships.
The 130-year-old Jiangnan Shipyard, which once operated along the Huangpu River in the center of Shanghai, will move to the new facility once it is built.
Shanghai handles almost half of all China’s shipbuilding orders, with an annual capacity of more than 3 million tons, accounting for 4.6 percent of the world total.
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