Port expansions have increased Chinese tugboat newbuilding levels and 2021 is expected to be even busier
One of the major builders of tugs for domestic ports, Jiangsu Zhenjiang Shipyard, has delivered six tugs so far in Q4 2020. Its output was impacted during Q1 2020 when shipbuilding activity in China was affected by the coronavirus outbreak and worker restrictions.
Since March this year, productivity has steadily returned to full capacity, enabling tug newbuildings to be constructed, launched and delivered to owners.
This culminated in the delivery of two azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugboats to Zhoushan Gangxing on 22 December, part of a series of tugs Zhenjiang Shipyard in Jiangsu province is building for this growing tug owner.
Its latest additions are Zhou Gang Tuo 37 and Zhou Gang Tuo 38. These 39.9-m tugs each have 2,942 kW of installed power, providing bollard pull astern of 51.9 tonnes and forward pull of 46.5 tonnes. They have a top speed of 13.1 knots and fuel capacity for 1,000 nautical miles (nm). Zhenjiang also installed FiFi-class fire-fighting systems on these tugs.
There was a hiatus in deliveries in November at the shipyard. However, four tugs were delivered in the final 10 days of October.
Fuzhou Port took delivery of two 2,942-kW ASD tugboats on 28 October. These unnamed vessels each have overall lengths of 36.5 m, breadth of 10.2 m and depth of 4.6 m with bollard pull ahead of 51.8 tonnes, astern of 47.4 tonnes and top speeds of 13.65 knots, while endurance is 1,100 nm.
On 21 October, Jiangsu Zhenjiang delivered Yong Gang Xiao Tuo 7 and Yong Gang Xiao Tuo 8 to Ningbo Zhoushan Port Co. These ASD harbour tugs each have 3,680 kW of power, generating ahead bollard pull of 64.5 tonnes and astern pull of 58.3 tonnes during sea trials. With an overall length of 41.4 m, breadth of 10.6 m and depth of 4.9 m, they have a top speed of 13.4 knots, endurance of 1,200 nm and a FiFi-class fire-fighting system.
More harbour tugs will be built in 2021 as Jiangsu Zhenjiang launched eight tugs in Q4 2020. These will be completed, commissioned and delivered to owners including Ningbo Yonggang Tugboat Co and Yangzhou Port.
Zhenjiang Shipyard has cut steel on another 11 tugs, laid keels on three more and started block assembly on two others in Q4 2020.
According to BRL Shipping Consultants, Jiangsu Zhenjiang secured contracts in December from Jiangsu Sugang Shipping to construct three harbour tugs. These ASD tugs, with 3,200 kW of installed power, are scheduled for delivery in June, September and December 2021.
Jiangsu Zhenjiang general manager Zhang Yancai explained why there is rising demand for multi-functional ASD tugs for Chinese ports. He said port economic development meant operators needed ASD tugboats’ product features, operation characteristics and applications.
Mr Yancai highlighted how Zhenjiang shipyard was the first designer and manufacturer of domestic multi-functional ASD tugboats.
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