The United States Navy may field the largest navy on Earth, but that has not stopped other countries from pursuing a naval presence of their own. The Indonesian Navy centers its shipbuilding industry on the island of Batam, which has experience a recent explosion in economic activity with the arrival of Singaporean investment. The industry on Batam holds an estimated value of $3 billion.
The shipyards in China dwarf those of Batam, with Chinese companies recently ordering many billions of dollars’ worth of supertankers. Chinese shipyards represent the world’s most industrious shipbuilders when measured by output tonnage, and while in the past this industry stood as an economic cornerstone for that nation, recent orders have fallen dramatically due to the economic slump. The supertanker purchases come as part of a general push by the state to shore up the economy through investment in public works and energy projects. These tankers may help China develop its supply chain of Middle East oil imports.
Reuben K. Byrd has served the shipyard industry in leadership positions such as vice president and chief executive officer for several different companies.