India sets out to become a top-five shipbuilding nation within a decade

Owners looking for extra shipyard capacity ought to turn their attention to the world’s most populous nation. Currently outside the top-10 shipbuilding nations globally with a market share of less than 1%, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has laid out plans to make his country a top-five shipyard hub.

Addressing the Global Maritime India Summit 2023 virtually yesterday, Modi said: “In the next decade, India will become one among the top-five shipbuilding and repairs nations of the world.”

Urging the investors and stakeholders attending the maritime summit to partner with India, Modi said that this is the great opportunity to become a part of the country’s maritime growth journey.

With both Japan and South Korea facing severe demographic issues limiting their available shipyard workforces, shipowners are beginning to seek alternative shipyard destinations, not to become too reliant on China, the world’s largest shipbuilding nation.

The Review of Maritime Transport 2023 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) last month urged shipyards to expand quickly to aid with shipping’s green transition.

“Shipyard capacity is currently facing constraints. Tanker and dry bulk owners are anticipating long waiting times and high building prices. Increasing shipbuilding capacity is crucial to ensure that shipping meets global demand and its sustainability goals,” the UNCTAD report stated.

After many years of contracting shipyard capacity, the global yard scene is finally expanding amidst record-long orderbooks, and a growing acceptance that much of today’s fleet will need to be replaced to meet new green regulations.

According to data from Maritime Strategies International (MSI) carried in class society ABS’s recently published 2023 Outlook, shipyard capacity grew 1.8% to 67.1m gt last year with MSI forecasting this figure will rise to 69m gt by 2025, and will peak at 81m gt in 2030 (see chart below). While this is significantly above current levels, it remains 26% below the 2011 peak.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding

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