Ever wondered why a ship is called "she". Well, once you have a feel of those curvaceous bodies, you just cannot resist giving a feminine image to these ships. They are strikingly beautiful and creating such objects of beauty from plates of steel has got to be a very precious art - the art which we call "shipbuilding". There are some really great shipyards in this world and I am lucky to get a chance to spend some time in some of these places. I hope you must have got an idea why I am writing all this now. Yup.. I am just trying my part to provide a brief description about shipyards.
There are three kind of shipyards...
(1) New building shipyards (Ex. Daewoo, Hyundai, Samsung, COSCO, Mitsubishi, Onomichi......). These yards mostly concentrate on new ship constructions.
(2) Ship repair yards (Ex. Hyundai Vinashin, Izar Fene, Keppels, COSCO, Cochin.....).These yards normally deal with drydockings and repair of ships. Ever heard of collision between two ships... I have seen ships having collisions and it is normal in shipping environment... And this is one of those eventualities where in comes the role of the repair yards.
(3) Ship breaking yards (Ex. Alang) This yard in Gujarat is perhaps the biggest ship breaking yard in the country. Such yards specialise in breaking the ship to renew the steel and the various machineries that the ship was fitted with.
Each of these yards have their own speciality and capability. For instance, Korean and Japanese yards are now the leaders in tanker,container,LNG and bulk carrier constructions while European yards are more or less concentrated on passenger liners and cruise liner constructions. Yards like Hyundai build more than 100 ultra sophisticated ships per year.
The very concept of building a ship from scratch demands huge manpower and tremendous man management skills (which I doubt if any mangement schools can teach). As they say such skills has to be in the genes. Ofcourse such shipyards employ very experienced consultants who have a great idea and foresight of the maritime future. It is interesting to note that the ship building trends are highly influenced by the steel and oil market, apart from the rules and regulations that regulate the technical requirements of safe shipping.
There exists a close relationship between ship owners and yards. After all, these yards make these ships while the ship owners run these ships. The very process of negotiations between the shipyards and the ship owners is a great skill which only experience can teach.