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Horizons article 27 March 2024

China’s ambitions a good fit for LR expertise

  • Maritime energy transition
  • Our people
Issue 68

As the global maritime industry prepares to decarbonise, China is gearing up to lead the transition. Horizons considers LR’s strong relationship with the global shipping powerhouse.

Late last year, Beijing announced its intention to capture a significant share of the green shipbuilding market, with some leading maritime publications reporting that the country aims to secure more than half of the market by 2035. 

China is well-positioned to reach these targets. As a leading shipbuilding nation with over 30 major yards, China delivers over 65% of shipbuilding output. It’s yard orderbook is full up to 2027/2028.

It also has a burgeoning clean energy sector with reports suggesting it was the largest driver of economic growth for China last year. This appetite for green emissions technology and existing shipbuilding combined, stand it in very good stead to become significant player in the green shipbuilding space.

And it is already making headway, with numerous alternative fuelled vessels ordered, many of which involve LR expertise. Examples include a joint development project with CSSC Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry and China Ship Design & Research Centre (CSDC) for a 110,000 DWT methanol fuelled oil tanker design, Approval in Principle from LR for Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co’s methanol-fuelled 81,000 DWT bulk carrier and several other joint projects for methanol-fuelled 9,200 TEU container ships and large car carriers.

Meanwhile, the high-profile Adora Magic City, also classed by LR, which embarked on its maiden journey on 1 January this year, is the first Chinese-built cruise ship.

“Adora Magic City is an example of LR working with a yard on a vessel type or class it has never built before,” said Sau Weng Tang, LR President for Greater China. “LR is known for its work on pioneering projects – those industry firsts that utilise new technologies or designs. We look at what the customer wants and make it work in reality, in line with all relevant class notations, safety and sustainable requirements.”

Sau Weng Tang, President for Greater China, LR

LR’s long-standing relationship with China goes back more than 155 years when it began classifying tea clippers built in Shanghai in the late 1800s.

“Our long history of working on government and commercial projects puts LR in a strong position to support the country’s ambitions going forward to make its mark on the green shipbuilding space,” believes Tang. “Today we work with all the major shipyards in greater China and currently have well over 150 ongoing projects in the region,” he said, noting that Aframax, Suezmax, VLCC, LNG, VLGC and bulk carrier newbuilds especially are keeping yards, and LR, very busy at the moment.

LR believes close proximity to a project is important and ensures that right expertise is situated close to the yard

Tang is keen to highlight the value LR’s talented team in China bring to the shipping and maritime community in the region. “LR is a global organisation, but we have maintained a very regional presence,” he asserted. “We have experts strategically located all over the world and call in their expertise as appropriate. However, we also put our experts at the centre of the project and relocate the right people with the right expertise close to the shipyards. That physical proximity to a project is so important and our clients really appreciate it,” he said.

LR has also retained a rich talent pool in Shanghai and China as a whole, including three global team leaders: the new construction portfolio manager, the commercial hull plan approval leader, and head of global engineering, are all based in the region, which Tang says is a testament to LR’s commitment to this important shipping nation. “Three positions which makes sense to have based at the heart of the shipbuilding scene in Asia,” said Tang.

Moving forward, Tang said that to support China’s green shipbuilding plan LR will continue to invest in people and training in order to continue as a trusted adviser throughout the shipbuilding process.

It’s the people that sets LR apart in the industry, believes Tang. “We have so much expertise and experience in this organisation, and everyone prides themselves on delivering a first-class service to our clients. It is our people that will ultimately be at the centre of green shipbuilding, as we support our clients to fulfil their ambitions.”

LR's team in China is committed to supporting the region's green shipbuilding industry

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