|Jiangnan Shipyard Shanghai|
Fueled by vigorous government support and cheap labour, the number of shipyards has grown exponentially in the past decade in China, reflecting its role as the world's top exporter and one of the biggest buyers of foreign oil, iron ore and grains.
But many small shipyards face a bleak year in 2011 as growing numbers of clients cancel orders to avoid floating unchartered vessels, and Beijing tightens credit in its fight to rein in inflation.
'There are too many shipyards. For the next couple of years, a number of them won't be able to survive on their own,' Robert Lorenz-Meyer, president of BIMCO, the world's largest shipowners' grouping, told Reuters. 'There will be consolidation, but hopefully some yards will refocus on scrapping,' he added.