The contenders for the biggest shipyard in the world are staggering in their scale, importance and the sheer size of the vessels which emerge from them. From the world’s largest container ships and oil tankers, to 7,000-passenger cruise ships, the biggest shipbuilders in the world and the largest dry dock in the world enable economies to flourish, businesses to thrive, and societies to access a diverse range of commodities. They’re the physical embodiment of today’s interconnected world.
In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the largest shipyards in the world and explore the planet’s biggest shipbuilders and their extraordinary creations.
Location: Taiwan, Republic of China | Opened: 1976 | Size: Over 235 acres
The Kaohsiung Shipyard isn’t the biggest shipyard in the world, but it is believed to house the largest dry dock in the world. According to reports, the dry dock is 950 metres long with an average depth of 14 metres and a capacity of one million tons. Facilities include two Goliath cranes with a lift capacity of around 350 tons each.
Osborne Naval Shipyard
Location: Adelaide, Australia | Opened: 1862 | Size: Approx. 250 acres
The largest shipyard in Australia and one of the biggest shipyards in the world, the ONS sits on South Australia’s Lefevre Peninsula. The first vessels to come out of the shipyard were six Collins-class diesel-electric submarines, and the yard has subsequently built the Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyers, both for the Royal Australian Navy. The ONS is believed to be home to the largest shiplift in the Southern Hemisphere measuring 156 metres long and 34 metres wide, capable of lifting 13,000 tonnes.
Chantiers de l’Atlantique
Location: Saint-Nazaire, France | Size: Over 250 acres
Located on France’s Atlantic coast, Chantiers de l’Atlantique is a contender for the biggest shipyard in the world. It’s most famous for building some of the world’s biggest cruise ships, including the opulent SS France in the 1960s, once the world’s longest passenger ship. The famous French facility also built the world’s largest passenger ship by gross tonnage, the 362-metre, 237,000-ton Wonder of the Seas with a capacity of almost 7,000 guests in almost 2,900 cabins.
Dalian COSCO Shipyard
Location: Dalian, China | Opened: 2007 | Size: Approx. 467 acres
The northeastern port city of Dalian is home to one of the largest shipyards in the world. Its frontage stretches 2.5 kilometres along the Yellow Sea coast and at 700 metres, has what is said to be the longest dry dock in China and a contender for the largest dry dock in the world. It was reported that China’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, the 305-metre Shandong, was built at the Dalian shipyard.
Location: Gujarat, India | Opened: 2005 | Size: Approx. 500 acres
India’s largest shipyard is owned by the Mumbai-based Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited, one of the biggest shipbuilders in the world. The shipyard covers over 700 metres of waterfront. The dry dock is reportedly 640 metres long and 65 metres wide, and can accommodate very large vessels up to 400,000 tonnes deadweight tonnage.
Newport News Shipbuilding
Location: Virginia, USA | Opened: 1886 | Size: Over 550 acres
Virginia’s largest industrial employer with over 23,000 employees, Newport News Shipbuilding is the largest shipbuilder in the US and one of the biggest shipbuilders in the world. The $12.8 billion Ford class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers are built there, as well as the Virginia class fast-attack submarines.
Samsung Heavy Industries Shipyard
Location: Geoje Island, South Korea | Opened: 1977 | Size: Approx. 990 acres
The facility on Geoje Island builds the world’s biggest ships and has the planet’s highest dock turnover rate. It ranks among the largest shipyards in the world, and the largest of its three dry docks is 640 metres long and almost 100 metres wide. The shipyard builds Very Large Crude Carriers, LNG carriers, oil drilling ships and ultra-large container ships.
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Shipyard
Location: Geoje Island, South Korea | Opened: 1981 | Size: Approx. 1,210 acres
One of the top 10 biggest shipyards in the world, the South Korean giant is believed to have a dry dock with a capacity of one million tons and is home to a 900-ton Goliath crane. The shipyard builds a variety of huge vessels including container ships, icebreakers, submarines, naval warships and oil tankers.
Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard
Location: Ulsan, South Korea | Opened: 1974 | Size: Approx. 1,780 acres
Situated at the confluence of the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, the Ulsan facility is the biggest shipyard in the world. Owned and operated by Hyundai Heavy Industries, the yard extends over four kilometres along the coast of Mipo Bay. It’s home to ten large-scale dry docks, the largest of which is 672 metres long and 92 metres wide. HHI builds some of the world’s biggest ships including oil tankers, cargo ships, submarines, warships and what are described as ‘special-purpose vessels’ for the Republic of Korea Navy.