Top 10 Largest Shipbuilding Companies in the World

top shipbuilding companies in the world
Credit: iStock Photo

Advertorial: This post contains sponsored content, advertisements, or affiliate links. Read our full advertorial disclosure here.

The shipbuilding industry plays a crucial role in global trade and transportation. Shipbuilders design, construct, and repair various types of ships and offshore structures. The industry is concentrated among a few major players who account for the majority of new ship builds.

This article provides an overview of the Top 10 Largest Shipbuilding Companies in the World based on 2020 revenue data and new ship orders. We compare key factors like revenue, number of ships built annually, facilities and docks, and type of vessels constructed.

Comparison of the 10 Top Largest Shipbuilding Companies in the World

CompanyCountry2020 RevenueShips Built AnnuallyFacilities/ShipyardsMain Vessel Types
Hyundai Heavy IndustriesSouth Korea$14.8 billion100+Ulsan, Geoje, Gunsan, Mipo, YeongamContainer ships, oil tankers, LNG carriers
Samsung Heavy IndustriesSouth Korea$7.3 billion60+Geoje, DaehanDrillships, FPSOs, LNG carriers
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine EngineeringSouth Korea$6.4 billion40+Okpo, Mangalia, GoejeOil tankers, container ships, LNG carriers
China State Shipbuilding CorporationChina$4.3 billion100+Numerous yardsTankers, bulk carriers, offshore platforms
China Shipbuilding Industry CorporationChina$3.75 billion100+Numerous yardsDestroyers, frigates, oil tankers
FincantieriItaly$5.8 billion20+Monfalcone, Marghera, Ancona, moreCruise ships, offshore vessels
Imabari ShipbuildingJapan$2.6 billion35+Imabari, MarugameBulk carriers, container ships
Japan Marine UnitedJapan$2.2 billion30+Numerous yardsTankers, bulk carriers, car carriers
Meyer WerftGermany$2.4 billion5+Papenburg, TurkuCruise ships, passenger ferries
Yangzijiang ShipbuildingChina$1.7 billion20+JiangsuBulk carriers, tankers, container ships

In the sections below, we take a deeper look at each of the top 10 top shipbuilding companies and provide overviews of their key facilities, vessel types, customers, joint ventures, and more details.

1. Hyundai Heavy Industries (South Korea)

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is the world’s largest shipbuilder, with the highest market share in new ship orders worldwide. The company builds around 100 ships per year across its extensive network of domestic shipyards.

Key facilities and subsidiaries include:

  • Ulsan Shipyard – Its largest facility, with 3 dry docks and 7 quays
  • Gunsan Shipyard – Builds medium and small ships
  • Geoje Shipyard – Specializes in offshore rigs and FPSOs
  • Mipo Shipyard – Builds a range of commercial vessels
  • Yeongam Shipyard – New high-tech facility focused on offshore engineering

HHI builds practically every type of ocean-going vessel but is especially dominant in building:

  • Large container ships
  • Crude oil tankers and product carriers
  • LNG carriers
  • Bulk carriers
  • Floating offshore platforms – FPSOs, drillships, semisubmersibles

It also owns HHI-EMD which manufactures marine engines, pumps, and key components.

Some major customers include Maersk Line, COSCO, CMA CGM, Shell, BP, Qatar Petroleum, Chevron, and ExxonMobil.

HHI operates several notable joint ventures such as:

  • HHI Offshore & Engineering – Partnership with Subsea 7
  • Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries – Joint venture with private equity firm Samho International

2. Samsung Heavy Industries (South Korea)

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) is another dominant player in building ships and offshore structures with 7.4% market share in 2020. Headquartered in Seoul, SHI operates two major shipyards in Geoje and Daehan.

Its Daehan shipyard focuses on building oil rigs like drillships and floating production units. Meanwhile, the vast Geoje complex spans 5 dry docks and 11 quays and handles a wider range of commercial vessel construction.

Key vessels delivered from its yards include:

  • LNG carriers
  • Oil tankers – crude, product, chemical
  • Drillships and semi-submersible rigs
  • Floating production units like FPSOs
  • Container ships

Samsung is a preferred contractor for energy majors like:

It also serves major liners including Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, and Hapag Lloyd.

In late 2022, SHI won orders for up to 16 giant LNG carriers from QatarEnergy potentially worth $5.6 billion total.

3. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (South Korea)

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) is another giant Korean shipbuilder with two main yards in Okpo and Geoje plus overseas facilities in Romania and Vietnam:

  • Okpo Shipyard – Its largest facility featuring 2 dry docks & 10 quays
  • Mangalia Shipyard – DSME acquired this Black Sea yard in Romania in 2020
  • Ningbo Daewoo Shipyard – Chinese subsidiary focusing on small bulkers
  • Daewoo-Vinashin Shipyard – Joint venture yard in Vietnam

DSME constructs all types of oceangoing merchant vessels with contracts from liners, tramp operators, energy firms, navies, etc. Among them:

  • Oil tankers – crude, products, chemicals, LPG
  • Bulk carriers – capesize, panamax, handymax
  • Containerships
  • LNG carriers
  • Naval ships – corvettes, destroyers, frigates

DSME is qualified to build drillships for oil majors like:

It also serves owners like Zodiac Maritime, Ocean Network Express, and Pacific International Lines.

Read Also: Top 5 Shipbuilding Companies in the Philippines

4. China State Shipbuilding Corporation (China)

China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) is China’s largest shipbuilder in terms of order volume and aggregate capacity. The state-owned group was formed through mergers of several major Chinese builders.

CSSC operates over 50 shipyards, design centers, marine equipment factories, and subsidiaries. Among them are two listed entities – CSSC Offshore & Marine Engineering (CSSC OME) and Hudong–Zhonghua Shipbuilding, along with numerous regional yards.

Its yards handle construction and repairs of:

  • Crude oil tankers
  • Bulk carriers – capesize, panamax, handysize
  • General cargo ships
  • Container vessels
  • LNG carriers
  • Offshore structures like jackups, semi-subs

CSSC is qualified to build naval ships for the People’s Liberation Army Navy, notably constructing China’s first indigenous aircraft carrier.

On the commercial side, it serves giant customers like COSCO Shipping, ICBC Leasing, Teekay, Pacific Basin, and many more.

5. China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (China)

The China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) is another Chinese state-owned shipbuilding group, primarily focused on constructing vessels for the Chinese Navy. It was created in 1999 from the Navy’s former shipbuilding assets.

Today, CSIC comprises numerous shipyards, subsidiaries, and marine diesel engine manufacturers including:

CSIC produces several naval vessels for China’s navy like:

  • Submarines – nuclear and diesel attack subs
  • Destroyers – Type 055 and Type 052D
  • Frigates – Type 054A and Type 056 corvettes
  • Amphibious assault ships – Type 075 LHD

It also constructs commercial ships including very large oil tankers and bulk carriers at select yards.

Last year CSIC merged with dominant Chinese defense contractor CASC, forming an aerospace and defense behemoth.

6. Fincantieri (Italy)

Fincantieri is Italy’s leading shipbuilder with nearly 230 years of history in construction and repairs of every type of marine vessel. Its nine Italian yards employ over 9,000 workers specialized in building cruise ships, ferries, offshore vessels, and naval combatants.

It currently operates:

  • Monfalcone Shipyard – Headquarters and site of large cruise ship construction
  • Marghera Shipyard – Additional cruise ship and naval vessel yard
  • Sestri Ponente Shipyard – Repairs ships and converts vessels
  • Vard Group – Global designer and builder of offshore and specialty ships

Fincantieri is one of the world’s foremost builders of passenger ships including mega cruise liners like Norwegian Prima and Carnival Celebration. Over the past decade it has delivered nearly 60 new cruise ships.

Its clientele includes:

  • Carnival Corporation & plc
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Cunard Line
  • Holland America Line
  • Princess Cruises

The group also constructs naval vessels like frigates, corvettes fast attack craft, and support ships for various navies.

7. Imabari Shipbuilding (Japan)

Imabari Shipbuilding is Japan’s largest shipbuilder by order volume with seven domestic facilities and several overseas yards. The group produces over 35 newbuilds annually – mostly bulkers and containerships.

Its main facilities in Japan are concentrated around Imabari and Marugame and include:

  • Imabari Hiroshima Shipyard & Works
  • Imabari Marugame Shipyard & Works
  • Shin Kurushima Dockyard
  • Shin Kasado Dockyard
  • Naikai Zosen Setoda Shipyard

Imabari constructs a wide range of commercial vessels like:

  • Bulk carriers – capesize, panamax, supramax, handymax
  • Containerships – neo-panamax, wide beam
  • Car carriers
  • Chemical tankers
  • Woodchip carriers

Its customers include owners like Ship Finance International, Berge Bulk, Pacific Basin, MOL, K”Line, and Swire Shipping.

8. Japan Marine United (Japan)

Japan Marine United Corporation (JMU) operates five shipyards in Japan building commercial ships like bulk carriers, tankers, and car carriers. Its origins trace to 1897 as Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries.

JMU’s main facilities are:

  • Yokohama Shipyard – Container vessels & gas carriers
  • Maizuru Shipyard – VLCCs, VLOCs, capesize bulkers
  • Nagasaki Shipyard – Large tankers and bulk carriers
  • Ariake Shipyard – Panamax and handysize bulkers

Its 1.5+ million GT of berthing space allows JMU to handle 15+ newbuilds and additional repair work simultaneously. The group focuses its commercial construction on building:

  • Oil tankers – VLCC, aframax, chemical
  • Bulk carriers – VLOC, capesize, panamax
  • Car carriers
  • Coastal ro-ro ships

JMU engineers and constructs ships for owners like NYK Line, MOL, K”Line, TOTE Maritime, Odfjell, and UECC.

In 2022, it won orders for the world’s first liquefied CO2 carriers being developed by Mitsui OSK Lines.

9. Meyer Werft (Germany)

Meyer Werft is Germany’s premier shipbuilder and one of the leading cruise ship builders globally. Its main facility in Papenburg features 3 covered dry docks including the largest in the world where it constructs vessels like Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas.

Other facilities include:

  • Turku New Shipyard – Additional cruise ship building yard in Finland
  • Neptun Werft Shipbuilding – Subsidiary focused on river cruise vessels
  • Meyer Werft Laser – Steel and profile cutting specialist

Though best known for innovating mega cruise liners over 350 meters long, Meyer Werft also constructs:

  • Passenger ferries
  • Gas carriers
  • Navy ships – stealth frigates, corvettes

In addition to Royal Caribbean, its clients include:

  • Carnival Corporation
  • MSC Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • German Navy

It also serves owners like Stena Line, Color Line, and Corvus Energy for battery-powered ferries.

Read Also: Top 10 Logistics Companies in Europe

10. Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (China)

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding operates five yards along China’s Yangtze River Delta region specializing in dry bulk carriers and large container ships. Its growth has been fueled by orders from European and Asian liner companies.

Facilities include:

  • Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipyard – 10 berths for large containerships
  • Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu Shipbuilding – VLCC and dry bulk focus
  • Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding – Newer Panamax containerships

Yangzijiang engineers and constructs:

  • Dry bulk carriers – capesize, panamax, kamsarmax
  • Containerships up to 15,000 TEU
  • Oil tankers – VLCC and aframax sizes

Recent customers include CMA CGM, Pacific International Lines, Oldendorff Carriers,

Shipbuilding Industry Trends

Top Largest Shipbuilding Companies in the World.
Source: iStock

Looking at recent developments and investments, a few key trends stand out across the shipbuilding sector:

Consolidation – Mergers and acquisitions between yards continue as players seek better economies of scale. Chinese merger between CSIC and CASC being one mega example.

Smart Yards – Digitalization and automation being prioritized through robotics, 3D printing, AI, and industrial internet to improve productivity.

Specialization – Builders expanding niche expertise in complex vessel categories like LNG carriers, offshore installations, expedition cruise ships.

Green Technologies – Hybrid propulsion, batteries, and alternative fuels reflected in newbuild designs to meet environmental regulations.

Government Support – Asia governments especially provide subsidies, financing, and other assistance to maintain domestic industry competitiveness.

Future Outlook

Demand for new merchant and naval vessels is likely to accelerate over the next 5-10 years driven by growth in seaborne trade, offshore energy projects, cruise tourism, and military expansionism.

Liners should continue fleet renewal for bigger and more efficient containerships. The cruise industry has some 20+ newbuilds on order towards meeting fast-growing passenger demand. And the tense geopolitical climate supports robust warship construction activity this decade.

Meanwhile, more owners are requesting green technologies to meet carbon reduction goals. So expect shipbuilders to adapt their portfolios and facilities towards eco-ships – LNG-fueled vessels, hydrogen pilots, wind-assisted designs, and sophisticated hybrid solutions.

Key Takeaways and Conclusions

In summary, Top 10 Largest Shipbuilding Companies profiled here collectively control around 85% of global commercial shipbuilding activity today.

We can expect further consolidation among the big players as China pushes for even larger state-backed groups. Korea’s dominance should continue near-term but face greater pressure from Chinese rivals.

Meanwhile, cruise ships, offshore installations, gas carriers, mega boxships over 18k TEU and some specialty tonnage could see relatively stronger demand vs. mainstay bulkers and oil tankers.

Adaptation to energy transition and decarbonization goals will likely separate top players going forward as margins get squeezed by rising steel costs and technology mandates. Those making the R&D and capital investments today will lead the future pack.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is the #1 shipbuilder in the world?
South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is the world’s largest shipbuilder with the highest market share (~10%) in new ship orders and vessel deliveries.

Who owns the largest shipyard?
HHI’s Ulsan complex in South Korea is the largest shipbuilding yard globally featuring 15 dockyards with an annual capacity of over 500,000 compensated gross tons (CGT).

What country makes the best ships? South Korea is generally recognized as building the best and most advanced commercial ships today. The “Big 3” Korean yards – HHI, DSME and SHI – are regarded as industry leaders in design, quality, and technical innovation.

Who is the largest cruise ship builder?
The two most prolific cruise ship builders today are European companies – Fincantieri (Italy) and Meyer Werft (Germany). They have delivered 100+ new cruise ships over the past 20 years.

What are the major ship types built today? The most built vessel types are bulk carriers (especially capesize, panamax and handysize dry bulkers), oil tankers (crude tankers, product tankers, chemical tankers), containerships, passenger vessels (cruise ships, ferries), and offshore structures (FPSOs, drillships, jackup rigs).

Advertorial: This post contains sponsored content, advertisements, or affiliate links. Read our full advertorial disclosure here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *