Following the international financial crisis, the global economic structure changed dramatically. The traditional global market was subdivided into segments in accordance with consumer requirements. Therefore, when conventional fleets such as tankers, bulk carriers and containers were struggling for survival, the heavy-lift transportation market developed rapidly. Heavy and bulky cargo items such as generators, locomotives, drilling rigs and container cranes have brought about revolutionary changes in cargo handling and marine transportation. New methods and tools have been introduced into the marine industry. In this article, the author gives a brief introduction about the market for marine heavy-lift operations in China, as well as cargo operation practices and current heavy-lift fleets in the country.
Market for heavy-lift operations in China
After China joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO), its market share for industrial products rose from 10% in 2000 to 25% in 2008, accompanied by an explosive increase in export and processing trades in European and American Markets. During the past decade, considering the changing government strategies and the rapid development of equipment manufacturing in China, Chinese companies won numerous overseas construction projects. As a result, the export of heavy-lift equipment, such as large-scale industrial devices and large vehicles, has increased rapidly. Meanwhile, many large-scale projects were started in China’s inland and coastal waters: the Three Gorges project, West-East Natural Gas Transmission project, high speed rail, not to mention marine gas exploration, nuclear power, petrochemical and civil aircraft manufacturing – all needed a large quantity of large-scale devices and so gave rise to the growth of exporting and importing heavy-lift machinery via land and sea transportation.
On October 2 2003, China’s first high-speed rail was inaugurated with a design speed of 200km/h; by 2013, the high-speed network encompassed 10,000km and by 2020, it will expand to more than 15,000km.