(ECNS) -- China exported 1.07 million automobiles in the first quarter of 2023, surpassing Japan for the first time to become the world's largest automobile exporter. The surging automobile exports drive the development of manufacturing industry of auto carrier ships in China.
Statistics released by China Association of Automobile Manufacturers shows that China exported 1.082 million and 2.015 million automobiles in 2020 and 2021 respectively, while the figure reached 3.111 million in 2022.
Various measures have been adopted to increase the transport capacity of automobiles. A freight company in Taicang Port, Jiangsu Province, transformed paper pulp vessels from Latin America which planned to return to China empty into auto transport ships.
The maximum capacity of a transformed paper pulp carrier is 2500 automobiles, said Liu Tiebin, a staff member of Taicang International Container Terminal.
However, it is hard to meet the fast-growing demand for automobile export transportation.
There are more than 700 auto transport ships around the world, but less than 10 percent of them are operated by China. In order to make up for this "short board", both shipping companies and automobile manufacturers are ordering auto transport ships.
No shipyard in China was able to build a large-scale automobile ro-ro ship before, but now, the shipbuilding enterprises in China are seizing rare market opportunities to achieve breakthroughs, with a series of technical difficulties solved. Last year, China undertook 88.4 percent of the global orders of 74 auto transport ships.
From 2021 to now, China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited received 35 orders for automobile carrier ships that can transport 7,000 to 9,200 automobiles, accounting for 27 percent of the global market share.