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German Maritime Coordinator visits DNV in China

A German delegation led by the Coordinator for Maritime Economy and Tourism, Dieter Janecek, recently visited maritime companies in China. On this occasion, they also visited the classification society DNV.

China’s shipping and shipbuilding industry was at the centre of the German government delegation’s visit to Shanghai at the end of May. Dieter Janecek, Coordinator for Maritime Economy and Tourism of the Federal Government, and colleagues from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection and the German Embassy also visited the classification society DNV and the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) shipyard.

DNV’s Regional Manager and Country Chair Norbert Kray welcomed the delegation to the regional headquarters in Shanghai and introduced them to the history of the company in China, which dates back to 1888. Today, more than 1,100 of DNV’s 15,000 employees worldwide work in China, spread across 21 locations and six business units.

DNV / Shanghai
The German delegation at the DNV office in Shanghai

DNV manager explains the Chinese market

Vincent Li, Regional Business Development Manager at DNV Greater China, gave an update on the latest developments in Chinese shipbuilding. He explained the characteristics of state-owned and private shipyards, the current order book and the proportion of newbuildings fuelled by alternative fuels, which is almost 40%. It was also pointed out that China’s fleet overtook Greece for the first time in September 2023 and has become the largest ship-owning country in the world in terms of gross tonnage. In addition, China’s shipbuilding industry has overtaken South Korea with around 55% market share (deadweight tonnage, dwt) in the current order book.

Green, emission-free corridors of interest

Xiaofeng Jason Liu, Head of DNV’s Smart Centre and Regional Digital Transformation Manager, explained how digitalisation and decarbonisation are massively shaping the shipping industry and its role in the global logistics chain. He provided information on the latest statistics on alternative fuels, the key findings of DNV’s “Maritime Forecast to 2050” and how energy efficiency measures on ships can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The need for cross-border cooperation, for example through so-called green, emission-free corridors, was also discussed with the economic policymakers from Germany – a topic that was of great interest to the delegation.

DNV presents LNG, LPG and wind drives

Boris Bondarenko, Area Manager China Mainland Fleet in Service (FiS), and his team then explained how DNV carries out terminal surveys, dry dock inspections and retrofits, and presented specific retrofit projects for LNG, LPG and wind-assisted propulsion systems. The guests were also given an overview of the most important container terminals and repair yards and learnt that 16 of the world’s 20 leading retrofit companies are based in China.

A tour of the FiS planning centre also gave the delegation members an insight into how the classification society plans visits efficiently. This involves intelligently coordinating harbour berthing times, survey duration and the qualifications and availability of surveyors.

During the visit to DNV’s global research centre on artificial intelligence (AI), Director Michael Chen and his team showed concrete ways in which AI is changing the role of certification: On the one hand, AI technologies can help detect corrosion or simulate the lifetime of batteries. On the other hand, testing companies such as DNV must equip themselves to certify artificial intelligence and cyber-physical systems themselves.

DNV / Janecek
A highlight of the trip was the visit to Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS)

SWS delivered 23 ships in 2023

The highlight of the programme was the joint tour of the SWS shipyard the next day, which was organised by DNV. The delegation from Germany witnessed various production steps from steel cutting to module production and block assembly and saw a variety of ship types nearing completion. Last year alone, SWS delivered 23 units, the majority of which were container ships and bulk carriers. However, tankers, FPSOs, car carriers and, more recently, cruise ships are also in the portfolio of the shipyard, which belongs to the state-owned CSSC Group.

DNV also has its own office directly on the shipyard site, from where the survey team looks after newbuildings for customers from all over the world, including German shipowners. Site manager Qin Lei Zhang gave an overview of the numerous DNV-class deliveries and reported on the intensive day-to-day business of the ship surveyors.

“I am very grateful to the high-ranking German government delegation for their interest and the good discussions with my team on site,” concluded Norbert Kray. “We hope that this has helped to gain a good impression of China as a shipping and shipbuilding location and of our work as a classification society. We look forward to continuing the exchange, at the latest at the SMM in Hamburg in September, where we will also be hosting a large Chinese business delegation at DNV.”

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Caption: The German delegation at the DNV office in Shanghai