China’s maritime and ports industry update

This country outlook is part of a short series of introducing priority sectors that Team Finland China has chosen for 2022. Team Finland China is a network of public actors and Finnish business chambers in China. The network promotes Finland and its interests abroad: the internationalization of Finnish enterprises, investments in Finland, and the country brand. In total, there are nine focus areas, in which Team Finland actors proactively plan their activities, to help Finnish companies to enter China and grow in Chinese market. Team Finland China priority sectors for 2022 are 1) ICT, 2) food and agro, 3) health technology, 4) energy, 5) bio economy, chemicals and built environment, 6) metal and machinery, 7) maritime, 8) education (incl. research and talent boost) and 9) winter sports.



China is the biggest shipbuilding country in the world. In 2021, China’s new contracts, deliveries and order book in CGT (Compensated Gross Tonnage) accounted for 50%, 37,8% and 47.2%, competing with South Korea (36,3%, 33,1% and 38,4%) and followed by Japan (8,7%, 16,6%, and 12,2%).

In January 2022, the global new contracts were 3,07 million CGT increased 72% comparing to last January, in which China received 1,47 million CGT, accounting for 48%, ranking No. 1 in the world. The capacity of many large Chinese shipyards are already full, the delivery time is scheduled to 2024/2025.

The Covid outbreak and lockdown in Shanghai from middle of March seriously disrupted the shipyards’ production in Yangtze River Delta area. Around 50 shipyards and more than 97% of the China's shipbuilding capacity were affected. From January to May, the deliveries fell by 15,3% year-on-year and new contracts fell by 46% year-on-year.

Shortening the production time and assuring the delivery time became the first priorities of Chinese shipyards. More and more shipyards will try to improve the efficiency by improving automation level (smart manufacturing). Shipyards are also increasing emphasis on the localization of suppliers and supply chains.

China’s 2030 carbon peak and 2060 carbon neutral target drive the pilot projects for using different kind of clean energy such as pure electric, hydrogen, renewable fuels, methanol and ammonia and promote LNG powered ships. Four ferry companies in Hong Kong have been funded with HK$ 350 million (approx. EUR 42,35 million) for a pilot project of testing electric ferries since 2023.

"Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ship Biofouling" (MEPC.207 (62) is being revised by IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). In the future, ships need to be regularly inspected underwater, cleaned, and recycled according to the assigned biofouling level; the seawater should be discharged to meet the standard.

Finnish companies already present in China market might have to consider a more complete supply chain in China to respond to domestic market quickly. Application of clean energy, control and management of ship biofouling are hot topics in China. Finnish companies are welcomed to build joint innovation project or pilot project with Chinese partners.


Since the Covid outbreak in 2020, Ningbo Ports and Yantian Port had to be closed for several weeks. China's ports are operated and managed in closed loop, which means that the ports do not accept any unnecessary visits from outside. Shanghai Ports did not close during the lockdown period, but the efficiency was still greatly affected because the road transportation was blocked.

The State Council has issued the 14th Five-Year Modern Integrated Transportation System Development Plan in January. The Plan proposes that a modern integrated comprehensive transportation system will be built by 2035.

Multi-Model Transport such as sea-river, sea-rail and sea-road will become the focus of development. Of course, the green and smart development has always been the focus of the ports in China. However, it seems that in addition to promoting the ship power supply, there are not many green applications at ports.

Finland has a leading position in the world in terminal automation, port digitalization, digital & electrical infrastructure, smart & autonomous shipping, connectivity, port consulting & training. Finland has the world leading system integration capabilities. Incorporating climate requirements in smart product design, Finnish companies are continuously seeking new technologies to cut the dependency on fossil fuels, effectively managing passenger and freight traffic at ports with digital solutions, to reduce the overall emissions.


Liwei Tan

Senior Advisor,

Business Finland in Shanghai, China

+86 139 1697 0205