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A shipyard, also called a dockyard or boatyard, is a place where ships are built and repaired. 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 Australia, Brazil, China, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. The shipbuilding industry is more fragmented in Europe than in Asia where countries tend to have fewer, larger companies. Many naval vessels are built or maintained in shipyards owned or operated by the national government or navy.

Shipyards are constructed near the sea or tidal rivers to allow easy access for their ships. The United Kingdom, for example, has shipyards on many of its rivers.

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.[1][2] 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 present-day surrounding Kutch desert formed 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.[citation needed] 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 at high tide as well.

The name of the ancient Greek city on the Gulf of Corinth, 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, in which 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 at times they served as a barracks for troops as well as an arsenal. During their time of operation the Drassanes were continuously changed, rebuilt and modified, but two original towers and part of the original eight construction-naves remain today. The site is currently a maritime museum.

From the 14th century, several hundred years before the Industrial Revolution, ships were the first items to be manufactured in a factory - in the Venice Arsenal of the Venetian Republic in present-day Italy. The Arsenal apparently mass-produced nearly one ship every day using pre-manufactured parts and assembly lines. At its height in the 16th century the enterprise employed 16,000 people.

Spain built component ships of the Great Armada of 1588 at ports such as Algeciras or Málaga.[3]

Historic shipyards[edit]

Prominent dockyards and shipyards[edit]


North America[edit]

Aerial view of Norfolk Naval Shipyard

South America[edit]

Brasfels Shipyard – Rio de Janeiro


Girvan shipyard Alexander Noble and son, Ayrshire Scotland
LaNaval shipyard in Bilbao, Spain
  • Hamburg Shipyards
  • Emden Shipyard
  • The Meyer Werft GmbH is one of the major German shipyards, headquartered in Papenburg at the river Ems. Founded in 1795 and starting with small wooden vessels, today Meyer Werft is one of world's leading builders of luxury passenger ships. Altogether about 700 ships of different types have been built at the yard.
  • Navantia: major public Spanish shipbuilding firm, which offers its services to both military and civil sector in three industrial areas: Cartagena / Cádiz / Ferrol (headquarters: Madrid) and with recent important projects as F100-class frigate program and S-80-class submarine program
  • Construcciones Navales del Norte LaNaval, Sestao (Bilbao)
  • Cernaval
  • Lisnave: repair facilities in Setúbal (Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Devonport Dockyard, located in the city of Plymouth, England in the county of Devon is the largest naval base in Western Europe. It has 15 dry docks, four miles (6.4 km) of waterfront, 25 tidal berths, five basins and covers 650 acres (2.6 km2). It is the main refitting base for Royal Navy nuclear submarines and also handles work on frigates. It is the base for seven of the Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarines and many frigates, exploiting its convenient access to the Atlantic Ocean. It supports the Vanguard-class Trident missile nuclear ballistic missile submarines in a custom-built refitting dock. It houses HMS Courageous, a nuclear-powered submarine used in the Falklands War and open to the general public.[13] Facilities in the local area also include a major naval training establishment and a base for the Royal Marines.
  • Chatham Dockyard, located on the River Medway in Kent, was established as a royal dockyard by Queen Elizabeth I in 1567. For 414 years, the Dockyard provided over 500 ships for the Royal Navy, and was forefront of shipbuilding, industrial and architectural technology. At its height, it employed over 10,000 skilled artisans and covered 400 acres (1.6 km2). The dockyard closed in 1984, and most of the Georgian dockyard is now managed as a visitor attraction by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust.
  • Damen Shiprepair in Brest, France. It operates three drydocks, up to 420 by 80 metres (1,380 by 260 ft).
  • Sunderland, County Durham a town once hailed as the "Largest Shipbuilding Town in the World".[14] ships were built on the at Sunderland Docks from at least 1346[15] and by the mid-18th century Sunderland was one of the chief shipbuilding towns in the country.
  • Constanţa Shipyard in Romania on the shores of the Black Sea Basin.
  • Mangalia Shipyard again in Romania, 45 km (28 mi) south of the port of Constanța.
  • Galați shipyard Galați is the largest naval shipyard on the Danube, given its strategic positioning inland but with access to the sea through either Sulina or Danube-Black Sea canal its output ranges from large tankers to research vessels, yachts and small coast guard patrol boats. The yard is known for taking on specialty projects and under Damen has completed over such 250 vessels since 1999.

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
  • CSBC Corporation, Taiwan, in Taiwan, is a private company that produces ships for civilian and military use. It was a state-owned enterprise of Taiwan (Republic of China) but transitioned to private ownership via an IPO in 2008. It is headquartered in Kaohsiung and shipyards in Kaohsiung and Keelung.
  • 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.[16] Yantai Raffles' portfolio includes offshore platforms, pipe lay and other specialized vessels.
  • Jiangnan Shipyard, in Shanghai, China, is a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation that produces both military and civilian ships. Its headquarters and main shipyard are based in Shanghai, with subsidiary shipyards in Shanghai and Chongqing.
  • Bohai Shipyard, in Huludao, China, is a subsidiary of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation that produces military (including nuclear powered vessels) and civilian ships.

South East Asia[edit]

Visakhapatnam Shipyard

South Asia and the Middle East[edit]

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

106-by-26-metre (348 ft × 85 ft) Syncrolift and side transfer system.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Archaeological remains of a Harappa Port-Town, Lothal". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2022-02-10.
  2. ^ "This is Modi govt's plan for India's first National Maritime Museum in Gujarat's Lothal". 9 March 2020.
  3. ^ Quarterly Review. Anglo-Spanish Society (100–118): 43. 1977 Retrieved 17 June 2022. It is probable that at least a quarter of the ships of the Great Armada sent against England were built at Algeciras or Malaga. {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Ancient Shipyard Discovered in Egypt - Archaeology Magazine". Retrieved 2022-07-13.
  5. ^ "Vigor Marine". Vigor Industrial. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "Company (about us)". TNG. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  7. ^ "Swiftships". original source. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  8. ^ "Swiftships to Build Egyptina Navy Patrol Boats". Maritime Executive. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Militaries around the world benefit from industrial localization a global trend". Geo Strategic Media. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  10. ^ "SCRA". SCRA. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  11. ^ "TSK". Tsakos Industrias Navales S.A. Archived from the original on June 20, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  12. ^ E-mail * Saisissez votre adresse électronique. (24 December 2012). "STX Europe démantelé, Fincantieri va devenir le géant européen de la navale" (in French). Mer et Marine. Archived from the original on 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  13. ^ "Submarine Museum marks Falklands 30th anniversary". BBC. May 2, 2012. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012.
  14. ^ "History of Shipbuilding in the North East". BBC. Retrieved 18 January 2007.
  15. ^ "History of shipbuilding on Wearside". Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Yantai Raffles' world-record gantry crane should see first lift this year – Offshore". Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  17. ^ "Kinabalu North Shipyard & Maritime Sdn Bhd". Retrieved 2020-01-31.
  18. ^ "Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd". Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd. Archived from the original on May 6, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  19. ^ "Penguin Shipyard International". Archived from the original on 2016-08-18.
  20. ^ "Selat Melaka Shipbuilding Corporation". Selat Melaka. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  21. ^ "Surya Prima Bahtera Heavy Industries". SPB. Archived from the original on July 14, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  22. ^ "Kinabalu North Shipyard & Maritime Sdn Bhd". Retrieved 2020-01-31.
  23. ^ "The Bangkok Dock Company (1957) Limited". The Bangkok Dock Company. Archived from the original on March 14, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  24. ^ "Marsun Company Limited". Marsun Company Limited. Archived from the original on August 18, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  25. ^ "Marine Acme Thai Dockyard". MAT. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  26. ^ "Bason Shipyard's Brief History" (in Vietnamese). Bason Shipyard Website. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  27. ^ "PT Kim Seah Shipyard Indonesia". Archived from the original on 2016-08-11.
  28. ^ "PT Karyasindo Samudra Biru Shipyard Indonesia". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20.
  29. ^ "NorthStar Shipbuilding Pvt Ltd". NorthStar Shipbuilding Pvt Ltd. Archived from the original on July 6, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  30. ^ "Sulkha Shipyard". Sulkha Shipyard. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  31. ^ "Alang ship-breakers face Rs 2,000-cr hit from Rupee fall". The Economic Times. January 13, 2012. Archived from the original on November 14, 2013.
  32. ^ "Drydocks World: Profile". Archived from the original on 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  33. ^ "HOME". Archived from the original on 24 February 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  34. ^ a b c "Shipyards in Dubai |Shipyard UAE |Ship Conversion Dubai|Grandweld". Retrieved 2022-10-04.

External links[edit]

  • Shipbuilding History – extensive collection of information about North American shipyards, including over 500 pages of US shipyard construction records
  • Shipyards United States – from