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Shipyards and dockyards are places where ships are repaired and built. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial construction. The terms are routinely used interchangeably, in part because the evolution of dockyards and shipyards has often caused them to change or merge roles.

Countries with large shipbuilding industries include Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Japan, China, Germany, Romania, Turkey, Poland and Croatia. The shipbuilding industry tends to be more fragmented in Europe than in Asia. In European countries there are a greater number of small companies, compared to the fewer, larger companies in the shipbuilding countries of Asia.

Most shipbuilders in the United States are privately owned, the largest being Huntington Ingalls Industries, a multibillion-dollar defense contractor, and the oldest family owned shipyard being Colonna's Shipyard in Norfolk, VA. The publicly owned shipyards in the US are Naval facilities providing basing, support and repair.

Shipyards are constructed nearby the sea or tidal rivers to allow easy access for their ships. In the United Kingdom, for example, shipyards were established on the River Thames (King Henry VIII founded yards at Woolwich and Deptford in 1512 and 1513 respectively), River Mersey, River Tees, River Tyne, River Wear and River Clyde – the latter growing to be the World's pre-eminent shipbuilding centre.

Sir Alfred Yarrow established his yard by the Thames in London's Docklands in the late 19th century before moving it northwards to the banks of the Clyde at Scotstoun (1906–08). Other famous UK shipyards include the Harland and Wolff yard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the Titanic was built, and the naval dockyard at Chatham, England on the Medway in north Kent.

The site of a large shipyard will contain many specialised cranes, dry docks, slipways, dust-free warehouses, painting facilities and extremely large areas for fabrication of the ships.

After a ship's useful life is over, it makes its final voyage to a shipbreaking yard, often on a beach in South Asia. Historically shipbreaking was carried on in drydock in developed countries, but high wages and environmental regulations have resulted in movement of the industry to developing regions.


The world's earliest known dockyards were built in the Harappan port city of Lothal circa 2400 BC in Gujarat, India. Lothal's dockyards connected to an ancient course of the Sabarmati river on the trade route between Harappan cities in Sindh and the peninsula of Saurashtra when the surrounding Kutch desert was a part of the Arabian Sea.

Lothal engineers accorded high priority to the creation of a dockyard and a warehouse to serve the purposes of naval trade. The dock was built on the eastern flank of the town, and is regarded by archaeologists as an engineering feat of the highest order. It was located away from the main current of the river to avoid silting, but provided access to ships in high tide as well.

The name of the ancient Greek city of Naupactus means "shipyard" (combination of the Greek words ναύς naus ship, boat and πήγνυμι pêgnumi, pegnymi builder, fixer). Naupactus' reputation in this field extends to the time of legend, where it is depicted as the place where the Heraclidae built a fleet to invade the Peloponnesus.

In the Spanish city of Barcelona, the Drassanes shipyards were active from at least the mid-13th century until the 18th century, although it at times served as a barracks for troops as well as an arsenal. During its time of operation it was continuously changed, rebuilt and modified, but two original towers and part of the original eight construction naves remain today. It is currently a maritime museum.

Ships were the first items to be manufactured in a factory, several hundred years before the Industrial Revolution, in the Venice Arsenal, Venice, Italy. The Arsenal apparently mass-produced nearly one ship every day using pre-manufactured parts, and assembly lines and, at its height, employed 16,000 people.

Historic shipyards[edit]

Ancient Shipyard of the Seljuks in Alanya, Turkey. The shipyard, consisting of five docks and constructed in 1226 by the Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat, is 56 metres long and 44 metres deep and is the only remaining shipyard from the Seljuks.

Prominent dockyards and shipyards[edit]

North America[edit]

Aerial view of Norfolk Naval Shipyard

South America[edit]

Brasfels Shipyard – Rio de Janeiro
  • The DIANCA shipyard in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela.
  • SCRA[3] (Construction Refurbishment and Armament Service) with two dry docks, ready for naval and general vessel works.
    • Punta de Lobos (Wolves Point) in west Montevideo, established in 1874.
    • Punta Maua (Maua Point) in east Montevideo, established in 1872.
  • Tsakos Industrias Navales S.A.[4]
  • Cotecmar shipyard in Cartagena, Colombia. Cotecmar
  • Enseada Industria Naval S.A., Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • The SIMA shipyard in Callao, Peru.


Girvan shipyard Alexander Noble and son, Ayrshire Scotland

History, The Constanţa Shipyard was first mentioned as the Craft Repair Shop within the Constanţa Harbour area in 1892 by the Ministry for Public Works.[3] The first ship ever constructed by the shipyard and launched to sea on May 31, 1936 was a 12 metres (39 ft) long yacht named Crai Nou,[3] designed and built by Alexandru Theodoru a student at the Naval School in Constanţa and graduate of the French Naval School.[4] In 1950 the shipyard began to construct ships, pontoons, tugboats and towboats.[4] In 1975 the shipyard constructed one bulk carrier of 54,200 DWT which was the first large ship ever constructed in Romania.[4]

After the construction of a large bulk carrier Giuseppe Lembo in 1994, the shipyard reprofiled its activity to construct only small ships. Only after the privatisation in 2002 the shipyard restarted to construct large scale ships.[4] In the 114 years of existence the Constanţa Shipyard constructed 432 ships, 365 for Romanian shipping companies and 67 for shipping companies from Egypt, Russia, Greece, Japan, Hong Kong, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, South Africa, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Norway, France, Panama and Netherlands, which have a total of 4,128,143 DWT.[4]

The shipyard is spread over an area of 980,000 square metres (10,500,000 sq ft), has three dry docks with a total length of 982 metres (3,222 ft) and 1.6 kilometres (0.99 mi) of berths.[4] In 2002 the company delivered two tankers of 42,500 DWT to the Norwegian company Kleven Floro used for the transportation of orange juice.[5] One of the main customers of the shipyard is the German company Hamburg Süd which ordered six container ships of around 6,000 TEU each, and seven ships of 7,100 TEU each as well as four tugboats.[6] The company also signed in 2005 an agreement with Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A., NSB Niederelbe, Gebab and Conti Reederei companies for the construction of 12 container ships of around 5,000 TEU each that will be delivered in stages until 2011 at a total cost of US$1.1 billion In 2008 the shipyard bought the largest gantry crane in North America, the Goliath Crane, formerly located in Quincy, Massachusetts from the General Dynamics company.[7] Built in 1975, the crane, nicknamed Goliath, Big Blue, The Dog or Horse, has a height of 100 metres (330 ft), a span of 126 metres (413 ft), a weight of 3,000 tonnes (6,600,000 lb) and a lifting capacity of 1,200 tonnes (2,600,000 lb).[8] The cranes's re-assembly has been under way since March 2009.

  • ROUSSE SHIPYARD WEST. The yard is located at the city of Ruse, Bulgaria, along the Danuve river. It is specialised in shipbuliding, shiprepair and manufacture of metal constructions. The yard owns the following main facilities: two piers with total length 605 meters; 14 buildling berths, 6 of which covered; traveling platform for shifting of the vessels; launching arrangement with capacity 1800 tons; additional floating arrangement for launching of vessels with weight up to 2200 t; covered production area of 69 decares including: cutting workshop, section assembly workshop, technical workshop, assembly workshop, pipe workshop and outfitting and delivery Department. The capacity of the yard allows building of vessels with the following dimensions: Length - 140 m; Breadth - 17 m; Deadweight - up to 8000 tdw.

East Asia[edit]

  • Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation's Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works in Japan builds oil tankers, LNG carriers, bulk carriers, container ships, Ro/Ro vessels, jetfoils and warships for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
  • Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding's Tamano Works builds bulk carriers, ore carriers, crude oil tankers, oil product carriers, LNG carriers, LPG carriers, reefers, container ships, pure car carriers, cargo ships, patrol vessels, ocean surveillance ships, training vessels, fishery patrol boats and fishing boats
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries's Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works primarily produces specialized commercial vessels, including LNG carriers, oil tankers and passenger cruise ships
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries Ulsan Shipyard & Gunsan shipyard, in South Korea, is currently the largest in the world and has the capability to build a variety of vessels including Commercial Cargo, FPSO offshore, container ship, LNG Carrier,Car carriers, Tankers like VLCC & ULCC, Iron ore carrier and Naval vessels like Aegis destroyers & submarines.
  • Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Samho shipyard near Mokpo 4th largest South Korean shipyard for VLCC Oil tankers, container ships & LNG, Offshore, Subsidiary of Hyundai heavy industries.
  • Hyundai Mipo dockyard, Ulsan bay shipyard chemical ships, LPG carriers, Special ships. Subsidiary of Hyundai Heavy Industries
  • Yantai Raffles Shipyard, in Yantai, China, is that country's largest offshore builder. It employs the 20,000 ton crane Taisun, the holder of the Heavy Lift World Record.[7] Yantai Raffles' portfolio includes offshore platforms, pipe lay and other specialized vessels.

South East Asia[edit]

South Asia and the Middle East[edit]

Cranes in Cochin Shipyard (India).
Dhaka Shipyard
Dhaka Shipyard - welding propellers

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vigor Marine". Vigor Industrial. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Company (about us)". TNG. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ "SCRA". SCRA. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  4. ^ "TSK". Tsakos Industrias Navales S.A. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ E-mail * Saisissez votre adresse électronique. "STX Europe démantelé, Fincantieri va devenir le géant européen de la navale" (in French). Mer et Marine. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  6. ^ "Submarine Museum marks Falklands 30th anniversary". BBC. May 2, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Yantai Raffles’ world-record gantry crane should see first lift this year - Offshore". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  8. ^ "Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd". Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Selat Melaka Shipbuilding Corporation". Selat Melaka. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Surya Prima Bahtera Heavy Industries". SPB. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Bangkok Dock Company (1957) Limited". The Bangkok Dock Company. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Marsun Company Limited". Marsun Company Limited. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Marine Acme Thai Dockyard". MAT. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Bason Shipyard's Brief History" (in Vietnamese). Bason Shipyard Website. Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  15. ^ "NorthStar Shipbuilding Pvt Ltd.". NorthStar Shipbuilding Pvt Ltd. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Sulkha Shipyard". Sulkha Shipyard. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Alang ship-breakers face Rs 2,000-cr hit from Rupee fall". The Economic Times. January 13, 2012. 
  18. ^
  19. ^

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