China to accelerate smart ship development after CSSC and government agree deal

Picture of a fully loaded container ship leaving port

The China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) has signed a strategic cooperation framework to develop smart ships and other maritime and transportation technologies.

In a statement, CSSC it had struck an agreement with the Maritime Safwty Administration on 15 June in Beijing and will work on smart traffic management systems and smart detection and monitoring technologies.

They will also jointly develop smart shipping development plans, conduct smart shipping related technology test verification and demonstration applications, and promote the construction of smart shipping supervision systems.

Additionally, they will also explore environmentally-friendly technologies, including liquified natural gas (LNG) ships and new satellite navigation systems, polar-ready vessels and other high-end marine equipment.

The two parties also said that their cooperation will further strengthen the “information sharing of the global shipbuilding market” and promote the stable and healthy development of marine equipment manufacturing.

The global shipbuilding industry has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and orders worldwide have fallen by 50% year-on-year (YoY).

However, CSSC said it is performing better than expected and has seen an increase in orders of 34.2%, increasing its market share to 30.4%.

Vessels have increased in size quickly over the past ten years, as carriers look to maximise their resources and carry as much cargo as they can to meet growing global demand.

This has meant more mega-ships on the world’s oceans, the biggest fleets of which can carry up to 24,000 TEU.

While this enables carriers to reach new markets and move more cargo, it has caused a strain on container terminals as they see vessel traffic fall but at the same time must handle more cargo, meaning equipment must be updated.

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