Small shipyard in Klaksvík (Faroe Islands), repairing fishing vessels
Fish ladder and shipyard in Grave, Netherlands
Kawasaki Shipbuilding Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works, Kobe, Japan
Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft in Zürich-Wollishofen, Switzerland

Shipyards and dockyards are places which repair and build ships. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial construction. The terms are routinely used interchangeably, in part because the evolution of dockyards and shipyards has often caused them to change or merge roles.

Countries with large shipbuilding industries include South Korea, Australia, Japan, China, Germany, Turkey, Poland and Croatia. The shipbuilding industry tends to be more fragmented in Europe than in Asia. In European countries there are more smaller companies, compared to the fewer, larger companies in the shipbuilding countries of Asia.

Most shipbuilders in the United States are privately owned, the largest being Northrop Grumman, a multi-billion dollar defense contractor. The publicly owned shipyards in the US are Naval facilities providing basing, support and repair.

Shipyards are constructed by the sea or by tidal rivers to allow easy access for their ships. In the United Kingdom, for example, shipyards were established on the River Thames (King Henry VIII founded yards at Woolwich and Deptford in 1512 and 1513 respectively), River Mersey, River Tees, River Tyne, River Wear and River Clyde - the latter growing to be the World's pre-eminent shipbuilding centre.

Sir Alfred Yarrow established his yard by the Thames in London's Docklands in the late 19th century before moving it northwards to the banks of the Clyde at Scotstoun (1906–08). Other famous UK shipyards include the Harland and Wolff yard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the Titanic was built, and the naval dockyard at Chatham, England on the Medway in north Kent.

The site of a large shipyard will contain many specialised cranes, dry docks, slipways, dust-free warehouses, painting facilities and extremely large areas for fabrication of the ships.

After a ship's useful life is over, it makes its final voyage to a shipbreaking yard, often on a beach in South Asia. Historically shipbreaking was carried on in drydock in developed countries, but high wages and environmental regulations have resulted in movement of the industry to developing regions.



The world's earliest known dockyards were built in the Harappan port city of Lothal circa 2400 BC in Gujarat, India. Lothal's dockyards connected to an ancient course of the Sabarmati river on the trade route between Harappan cities in Sindh and the peninsula of Saurashtra when the surrounding Kutch desert was a part of the Arabian Sea.

Lothal engineers accorded high priority to the creation of a dockyard and a warehouse to serve the purposes of naval trade. The dock was built on the eastern flank of the town, and is regarded by archaeologists as an engineering feat of the highest order. It was located away from the main current of the river to avoid silting, but provided access to ships in high tide as well.

The name of the ancient Greek city of Naupactus means "shipyard" (combination of the Greek words ναύς naus ship, boat and πήγνυμι pêgnumi, pegnymi builder, fixer). Naupactus' reputation in this field extends to the time of legend, where it is depicted as the place where the Heraclidae built a fleet to invade the Peloponnesus.

In the Spanish city of Barcelona, the Drassanes shipyards were active from at least the mid-13th century until the 18th century, although it at times served as a barracks for troops as well as an arsenal. During its time of operation it was continuously changed, rebuilt and modified, but two original towers and part of the original eight construction naves remain today. It is currently a maritime museum.

Ships were the first items to be manufactured in a factory, several hundred years before the Industrial Revolution, in the Venice Arsenal, Venice, Italy. The Arsenal apparently mass produced nearly one ship every day using pre-manufactured parts, and assembly lines and, at its height, employed 16,000 people.

Historic shipyards

Ancient Shipyard of the Seljuks in Alanya, Turkey. The shipyard, consisting of five docks and constructed in 1226 by the Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat, is 56 metres long and 44 metres deep and is the only remaining shipyard from the Seljuks.

Prominent dockyards and shipyards

North America

Aerial view of Norfolk Naval Shipyard

South America

Brasfels Shipyard - Rio de Janeiro
  • The DIANCA shipyard in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela.
  • SCRA (Construction Refurbishment and Armament Service) with two dry docks, ready for naval and general vessel works.
    • Punta de Lobos (Wolves Point) in west Montevideo, established in 1874.
    • Punta Maua (Maua Point) in east Montevideo, established in 1872.
  • Tsakos Industrias Navales S.A.
  • Talleres Navales del Golfo SA de CV in Veracruz, Mexico. A member of the Hutchison Port Holdings Group
  • [1]


Girvan shipyard, Ayrshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • BAE Systems Surface Ships operates three shipbuilding yards in the United Kingdom; Portsmouth, England and Scotstoun and Govan on the River Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland. Major projects include the Type 45 destroyer and the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.
  • BAE Systems Submarine Solutions operates a major shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, England. It is one of the few yards in the world capable of building nuclear submarines such as the Royal Navy's Vanguard class. This division has built surface ships in the past and will manufacture blocks of the Queen Elizabeth class.
  • Navantia is a Spanish shipbuilding firm, which offers its services to both military and civil sector. It is the fifth largest shipbuilder in Europe, and the ninth largest in the world with shipyards all over Spain. It is located at Ferrol.
  • Devonport Dockyard, located in the city of Plymouth, England in the county of Devon is the largest naval base in Western Europe. It has 15 dry docks, four miles (6 km) of waterfront, 25 tidal berths, five basins and covers 650 acres (2.6 km²). It is the main refitting base for Royal Navy nuclear submarines and also handles work on frigates. It is the base for seven of the Trafalgar class nuclear powered hunter-killer submarines and many frigates, exploiting its convenient access to the Atlantic Ocean. It supports the Vanguard class Trident missile nuclear ballistic missile submarines in a custom-built refitting dock. It houses the HMS Courageous, a nuclear powered submarine used in the Falklands War and open to the general public [2]. Facilities in the local area also include a major naval training establishment and a base for the Royal Marines.
  • SOBRENA in Brest, France. It operates 3 drydocks, up to 420 by 80 metres.

East Asia

  • Hyundai Heavy Industries Ulsan Shipyard, in South Korea, is currently the largest in the world and has the capability to build a variety of vessels including Commercial Cargo, Offshore and Naval vessels.
  • Yantai Raffles Shipyard, in Yantai, China, is that country's largest offshore builder. It employs the 20,000 ton crane Taisun, the holder of the Heavy Lift World Record.[1] Yantai Raffles' portfolio includes offshore platforms, pipe lay and other specialized vessels.
  • Vuotsong Shipyard, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, employs 82 workers and 120 subcontracted workers all year long and received in 2007 the ISO 9002 certification and work under control of Vietnamese VIRES and Bureau VERITAS.[2]

South East Asia

South Asia

See also


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shipyard — es una ciudad del distrito de Orange Walk, en Belice. En el último censo realizado en 2000, su población era de 2.385 habitantes. A mediados de 2005, la población estimada de la ciudad era de 2.800 habitantes. Fundada en abril de 1958 por… …   Wikipedia Español

  • shipyard — ship‧yard [ˈʆɪp jɑːd ǁ jɑːrd] noun [countable] a place where ships are built or repaired: • a naval shipyard * * * shipyard UK US /ˈʃɪpjɑːd/ noun [C] PRODUCTION, TRANSPORT ► a place where ships are built and repaired: »600 jobs will be lost at… …   Financial and business terms

  • Shipyard — Ship yard , n. A yard, place, or inclosure where ships are built or repaired. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shipyard — (n.) c.1700, from SHIP (Cf. ship) (n.) + YARD (Cf. yard) (n.1) …   Etymology dictionary

  • shipyard — ► NOUN ▪ a place where ships are built and repaired …   English terms dictionary

  • shipyard — [ship′yärd΄] n. a place where ships are built and repaired …   English World dictionary

  • Shipyard — 17.883333333333 88.616666666667 Koordinaten: 17° 53′ N, 88° 37′ W …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • shipyard — n. a naval shipyard * * * [ ʃɪpjɑːd] a naval shipyard …   Combinatory dictionary

  • Shipyard — Original name in latin Shipyard Name in other language Shipyard State code BZ Continent/City America/Belize longitude 17.88333 latitude 88.61667 altitude 4 Population 3522 Date 2013 05 05 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

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