Chinese shipbuilding capacity over 200 times greater than US, Navy intelligence says

A U.S. (*200*) of Naval Intelligence (ONI) slide that was leaked on-line highlights considerations over a quickly increasing Chinese navy and the nation’s continued functionality to supply ships at a sooner fee than the United States.

“The Chinese see this decade as a strategic opportunity,” Brent Sadler, senior analysis fellow for naval warfare and superior expertise within the Center for National Defense on the Heritage Foundation, instructed Fox News Digital. “I don’t see any near-term bending of the curve where we actually start closing the gap with the Chinese.”

Sadler’s feedback come after pictures of the unclassified (*200*) of Naval Intelligence slide have been broadly circulated across the web. The picture, which was picked up in a War Zone report, present China’s large shipbuilding capacity as in comparison with the United States.

The slide’s authenticity was confirmed by a Navy spokesperson, who cautioned that it was not meant to be an in-depth evaluation.

“The slide was developed by the Office of Naval Intelligence from multiple public sources as part of an overall brief on strategic competition,” the spokesperson instructed Fox News Digital. “The slide provides context and trends on China’s shipbuilding capacity. It is not intended as a deep-dive into the PRC (People’s Republic of China) commercial shipbuilding industry.”

The slide reveals that Chinese shipyards have a capacity of about 23.2 million tons in comparison with much less than 100,000 tons within the U.S., making Chinese shipbuilding capacity extra than 232 times greater than that of the U.S.


A crowd waves flags to welcome the Shenzhen, a Chinese Type 051B Luhai-class missile destroyer, upon its arrival in Tokyo. (Haruyoshi Yamaguchi / Bloomberg)

The slide additionally reveals the “battle force composition” of the international locations’ two navies side-by-side, which incorporates “combatant ships, submarines, mine warfare ships, major amphibious ships, and large combat support auxiliary ships.” The ONI estimated that China had 355 such naval vessels in 2020 whereas the U.S. had 296. The disparity is predicted to proceed to develop each 5 years till 2035, when China may have an estimated 475 naval ships in comparison with 305-317 U.S. ships.

Another part of the slide supplies an estimate on the share every nation allocates to naval manufacturing in its shipyards, with China garnering roughly 70% of its shipbuilding income from naval manufacturing, in comparison with about 95% of American shipbuilding income.

However, that disparity can also be regarding, Sadler stated, who famous that China would achieve a strategic benefit by having a strong industrial shipbuilding sector.

“Shipbuilding is a strategic industry, and they realized that a long time ago,” Sadler stated of China. “The first part was build up your commercial shipbuilding sector … commercial shipbuilding really was the genesis for all of this massive capacity. It’s a lesson that you can’t have naval shipbuilding without a commercial shipbuilding sector and the Chinese have been doing that for 30 years.”

Because of China’s centrally deliberate financial system, the nation is ready to management labor prices and supply subsidies to its shipbuilding infrastructure, permitting the Chinese to outbid most opponents around the globe and dominate the industrial delivery business, Sadler stated.


On the military side, Sadler famous that the Chinese started to accumulate expertise from the Soviet Union, later Russia, and Ukraine, modeling a lot of their naval vessels after expertise from these international locations.

“Then you get more shipyard workers, and sometimes these commercial shipyards, one side’s building tankers, LNG ships and container ships, and right next door, they’re building cruisers and destroyers, sometimes with the same shipyard workers,” Sadler stated.

Sadler argued that the U.S. has not constructed a comparable shipbuilding infrastructure as a result of builders solely have the U.S. authorities as a buyer.

“The federal government is the sole customer … your biggest customer where you get your biggest margin of profit is building the big high-tech expensive naval ships,” Sadler stated. “That’s the only show in town for us. And unfortunately, because that’s the case, no one’s looking to get competitive and building better container ships or the next generation commercial shipping vessel, which is what we really need to be doing.”

US Navy San Diego

The USS Theodore Roosevelt leaves its San Diego dwelling port. (U.S. Navy through Getty Images)

While a lot of the eye on China’s benefit in shipbuilding has been centered on the nation’s naval capabilities, Sadler stated that the Chinese benefit in industrial delivery additionally has massive implications on U.S. security and the financial system. 

“In peacetime, the everyday family is just trying to get diapers, baby formula, bottles of water, toilet paper, or during COVID, PPE, masks. A lot of that supply chain, the ships, the movement, the shippers, they’re tied to the Chinese market or they’re Chinese ships,” Sadler stated.

“We had backlogs of containers in China because it was more profitable to hold cargo in China,” Sadler added. “It caused a backlog of supply. There were situations many people probably still recall of empty shelves. Part of the reason for that was an over reliance on this global supply chain overwhelmingly centered in China.”


That dominance in industrial delivery additionally performs out in relation to a possible battle, Sadler added, arguing that the over-reliance on Chinese delivery would enable China to “sanction us very effectively” in response to hypothetical U.S. sanctions in the event that they have been to get extra aggressive around Taiwan.

“The United States relies on 80,000-plus visits to keep its economy by foreign flag vessels, to keep the lights on … the stores and industries humming,” Sadler stated. “So, if the Chinese basically deal themselves out of that market, we lose the ability to sustain our economy, and the shocks of that are really not fully appreciated.”

Reports this week by the South China Morning Post point out that China could also be closing in on constructing one other big warship, with on-line pictures exhibiting staff on the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard holding flags subsequent to what seems to be a next-generation amphibious assault ship.

In a possible direct battle with China, Sadler argued that the implications of shipbuilding disparity could be “even more dire,” pointing to potential rations much like World War II. The penalties of the state of affairs is also felt in a battle at sea, the place China would have the power to supply, restore and exchange naval vessels at a sooner fee than the United States.

Despite the looming menace, Sadler stated the U.S. has not labored towards the aim of accelerating the variety of U.S. naval vessels.

“Every budget for the last three years during the Biden administration … the long-range plans have all laid out a reduction in the size of the Navy when the danger is going in the other direction, it’s going up,” Sadler stated.

According to an Association of the United States Navy report earlier this yr, President Biden’s proposed fiscal yr 2023 price range referred to as for a discount of 15 vessels from the Navy’s fleet. While the proposal allowed funding to construct 9 new vessels, it additionally proposed a decommission of 24 ships, resulting in the general discount of the fleet.

President Joe Biden talking to crowd

President Joe Biden (Brendan Smialowski / AFP through Getty Images / File)


Biden’s fiscal yr 2024 price range additionally referred to as for an elimination of 11 ships, a plan that was criticized by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the rating member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We should rapidly work to expand our naval fleet,” Wicker stated in a press launch earlier this yr. “As I said, China’s fleet size has eclipsed ours, and yet the Department of Defense proposes ship decommissionings. The Marine Corps was unable to assist victims of the earthquakes in Turkey just a few months ago because the Navy lacked enough amphibious ships.”

Wicker was on the heart of a 2017 effort to set a aim of attaining a 355-ship naval fleet, a proposal that turned regulation within the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act after it was signed by former President Donald Trump.

But price range proposals within the years since have fallen wanting assembly these expectations, together with Biden’s 2024 proposal that referred to as for the 11-ship discount.

Speaking to reporters concerning the proposed discount earlier this yr, Rear Adm. John Gumbleton stated eight of the 11 ships have been being eradicated earlier than their “end-of-service-life” because of the ships’ “material condition, life remaining, cost and then time to upgrade.”

“These six vessels did not pass that ROI analysis. In addition to the time and money saved with this divestment, we will also free up over 1,500 sailors to support higher-priority efforts,” Gumbleton stated.

The Pentagon building

The Pentagon (Tom Brenner / Bloomberg through Getty Images / File)


Asked concerning the Navy’s fleet persevering with to hover beneath 300 ships throughout the identical briefing, Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven instructed reporters that “readiness, modernization … and capacity, in that order, are the priorities that … drive this budget.”

“We are constantly working with our industrial partners to make sure that we are not only funding but taking delivery of ships on time and in an efficient manner,” Raven stated.

The White House didn’t instantly reply to a Fox News request for remark.

According to Sadler, the failures of the U.S. to adequately put money into its shipbuilding capacity haven’t been “a partisan issue.” He argued that “both parties’ political leaders have failed on this count.”

Sadler added that lawmakers have to “get serious about the threat” and “put plans and budgets that … grow the Navy.”

“We need consistency in the budgets,” Sadler stated. “We need to find a way to regain a competitive edge so that there is a reason, a profitable market space for young Americans to want to join something that’s new, that’s exciting, and they can make a really good living in shipping in shipbuilding. Right now, that just doesn’t exist.”

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