China’s EV export boom fuels surge in demand for new car-carrying ships

China EV export ship demand


According to data, Chinese manufacturers and shippers are purchasing a record number of car-carrying vessels to support a surge in EV exports. This puts China on track to have the world’s fourth-largest fleet by 2028.

According to shipping consultancy Veson Nautical, China currently possesses the world’s eighth-largest fleet of 33 car-carrying ships. Japan has the most ships, with 283; Norway has 102; South Korea has 72; and the Isle of Man has 61.

However, Chinese corporations have 47 ships, accounting for 25% of global orders. Buyers include SAIC Motor, Chery Automobile, EV powerhouse BYD, and shippers such as COSCO and China Merchants on behalf of Chinese automakers.

According to the report, Chinese shipyards gained the most from the increase in orders, receiving 82% of global orders.

With price-cutting competition, cost-conscious consumers, and a slow economy, manufacturers have increased growth into areas where their vehicles are more expensive than homes. Last year, China surpassed Japan as the most prominent auto exporter.

BYD alone shipped over 240,000 cars in 2023, accounting for over 8% of its global sales, and expects to export up to 400,000 this year.

Rising shipping costs and local government backing have prompted automakers to purchase ships themselves. According to maritime consultancy Clarkson, by the end of 2023, the daily charge to charter a 6,500-vehicle carrier will be $115,000, more than seven times the 2019 average.

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