Fears over safety equipment bottlenecks as Chinese shipyards reopen

Tugboats push a 300,000-ton very large crude carrier (VLCC) to a shipyard on the Yangtze River for retrofit in Qidong city in east China's Jiangsu province. Credit: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

As China begins to restore its shipbuilding operations following months of disruption due to COVID-19, survival and safety solutions provider Survitec has warned of potential bottlenecks and safety equipment delays if operators leave their drydocking and servicing requirements to last minute.

Many of the country’s shipbuilding and repair yards have reopened and most ports are now operational following three months of lockdown to halt the spread of COVID-19.

However, with shipbuilding activity ramping up again in China, other nations continue to battle through lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. The resulting effect on supply chains could disrupt ship safety equipment reaching Chinese shipyards, particularly if ship owners do not plan in advance. To address this problem, Survitec has ramped up its operations in China following government initiatives to get the world’s second largest economy moving again.

Recently, the company communicated that it had reviewed its inventory in China and had taken action to increase stock levels of key products to meet anticipated demand for ship servicing and early drydocking. Survitec noted the importance of continuity planning for all companies, noting that it had done so across its own network of global service and manufacturing hubs.

Survitec reported that all of its manufacturing facilities are staffed, operational, and are working to complete and deliver orders. It also reassured customers that in China, as elsewhere, they will continue to issue advice and updates to they operations teams and carry out daily site reviews to identify and resolve any critical issues, including supply bottlenecks.

“There could be bottlenecks and equipment delays if operators leave their drydocking and servicing requirements to last minute, when the time comes,” Beibei Qiu, Survitec general manager, China, warned in an official press release,

“We are working closely with major ports and shipyards to help ensure teams are available to help fast track our customers’ projects delayed by the crisis, while adhering to the new and enhanced processes,” he said.

With strict controls still in place at China’s shipyards and ports, Survitec as a key safety equipment supplier, has also implemented a suite of extra safety measures to help to safeguard their workforce and customers against COVID-19 infection. This includes the provision of personal protective equipment, such as face masks and hand sanitisers. Deep-cleans and the disinfection and sterilisation of their service stations globally has also been conducted, Survitec confirmed.