Building a reputation

Yangfan Group has 60 years of history in the shipbuilding and export industry. Based in China, the group encompasses four yards across two locations Zhoushan and Qingdao that specialise in the construction of container ships, chemical tankers, car carriers and bulk carriers for the global market. With a total of 1.63 million square metres of manufacturing space across its locations, and continuous growing of total industrial output of $700 million in 2009, $1 billion in 2010 and $1.2 billion in 2011, it is the largest shipbuilding group in Zhejiang Province and has capitalised on this by taking large and complex projects. It works together with a first class international design house and utilises TRIBON design software to assist in create high quality, environmentally friendly vessels at a competitive price.

One significant contract recently gained by Yangfan Group is with Finnish naval architecture and engineering firm Deltamarin. Director of business Edward Jiang discusses why and how the group gained this order: “In 2010, Yangfan Group won five newbuilding orders from German shipowner Essberger and Belgian shipowner Cobelfret for the Seahorse 350,000 DWT bulk carrier design developed by Danish design house CarlBro. The design house dubbed the design a green ship for the future. In 2011 a new design, the B-DELTA 37 class bulk carrier from Deltamarin, attracted many people’s eyes including Yangfan because of its green operation. After half a year’s marketing and promotion, and with great support from Broker BRS, we beat many competitors and won six newbuilding orders from the Italian owner, d’Amico, plus six further options too.”

The six vessels are being built at Yangfan Group’s Zhoushan shipyards. Each is a 38,500 DWT bulk carrier measuring 180 by 30 metres and a cargo holding capacity of 49,500 cubic metres. Cruising speed will be 14 knots, meaning they will provide relatively swift travel, whilst a specialised engine offers a low fuel consumption rate of 17.9 tonnes per day. This is the result of a low-resistance hull shape and innovative propulsion and rudder system.

Though a specialist in bulk carriers, building ships sized between handy and newcastlemax, recent history has seen a variety of different vessel types delivered from the group’s four yards. Chemicals are Yangfan Group’s second biggest business, whilst car carriers (between 3000 and 8000 PCTC) and container vessels (feeder ships through to 6000 TEU seagoing ships) provide steady additional activity. Because the Yangfan Group also owns its own marine outfitting and machinery factories with experience of MacGregor, TTS, SAM Electronics, and Alfa Laval equipment, it is able to offer nearly turnkey solutions, to its clients. This flexibility has been key to the group’s ongoing success.

“We recently received an order for four 39,000 DWT handysize bulkers from French owner Unishipping and we expect to deliver these in 2014 and 2015,” Edward continues. “Apart from that we are now building: two lake carriers for Canadian owner CSL; four plus four options on an SDARI eco design 2400 TEU container vessel for a joint venture between Bernhard Schulte and JP Morgan; and four SDARI eco design 36,000 DWT bulkers for long time client Canadian Forest Navigation. What has made us stand out is the technical innovation of our ship designs, investment in modern facilities and modern shipbuilding management systems, and two strong shareholders Beijing Jianlong Group and Goldman Sachs Hong Kong. Our clients can rely on us.”

As an example of its commitment to high quality facilities, Yangfan Group recently invested tens of millions of dollars into the acquisition of a flat panel production line supply produced by the Finnish engineer Pema. This supply line has been installed at Eastcoast Shipyard in Zhejiang Province where it will improve the efficiency and accuracy of building projects. A greater capacity for steel construction will dramatically reduce labour costs and improve the turnaround time or projects in the yard.

“The market is challenging but with a lot of opportunities at the moment,” explains Edward. “As the Chinese saying goes: the market, never mind good or bad, is always for those who have been well prepared. We see it as a marathon. If all the others give up halfway but you are still there running, you will be the winner. We do believe a majority of shipyards will be washed out of the market by the end of the current crisis but Yangfan Group will remain there at
the end.”

With investments into its facilities, and space across its yards for a huge number of concurrent projects, Yangfan Group is secure enough in its position to remain at the forefront of its market. Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year highlights the longevity that the company is capable of and as the newbuilding market moves increasingly towards countries such as China and Korea, the prospects for one of the region’s leading names can only increase. “We are now trying to market the ECO design container vessel and car carriers that we believe will be a shining star in the market,” Edward concludes. “We believe in a long-term approach and see ongoing modernisation and automation as the keys to our survival.”

Yangfan Group
Major Deltamarin project
Plenty of projects underway
Innovatice eco designs