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Royal Dock in operation

Royal Dock in operation
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering held a launching ceremony for its fourth ``Royal Dock'' at the company shipyard in Okpo.

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering held a launching ceremony for its fourth "Royal Dock'' at the company shipyard in Okpo.

In spite of the recent financial crunch, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) is aggressively pressing ahead with its expansion plan, unveiling its latest facility ― the world's biggest floating dock ― Wednesday. DSME, the world's second-largest shipbuilder, held a launching ceremony for its fourth ``Royal Dock'' at the company shipyard in Okpo, South Gyeongsang Province, with CEO Nam Sang-tae in attendance.

The fourth Royal Dock is as large as five football stadiums combined. It broke DSME's own record of the biggest floating dock ― the third Royal Dock ― also located at the Okpo yard. The third dock is 362 meters long and 62 meters wide.

After over a year of construction, the giant facility was brought into the DSME dockyard in June before completion. The 438-meter long, 84-meter wide dock will raise productivity greatly, as orders for 12,500 TEU (twenty-foot or equivalent unit) or bigger container ships are expected to rise, DSME said.

Just like its previous edition, the gigantic size of the latest Royal Dock enables the shipbuilder to get over traditional shortcomings of floating docks. Usually used for manufacturing smaller-sized boats, they are regarded as less suited for larger craft as they can't support large structures or cranes.

The new dock has some technical advantage as well, which allows makers to spend less time in sinking or buoying it to launch vessels built within the facility. Sixteen water pumps with the capacity of 4,500 cubic meters make it possible to raise or lower the dock by 21 meters in three hours.

Bigger floating docks can further benefit owners, as they are easier to build and less costly to dismantle than land-based yards, the industry says. Also due to a shortage of land for new docks, shipbuilders across the world are committed to constructing more floating docks.

DSME has been pushing ahead its ``F1 strategy,'' which aims to put the company on top in the global shipbuilding industry. Last year, it expanded its second Royal Dock, exchanging its 450-ton crane for a 900-ton one as part of investments into equipment.

Last month, the company tapped into the new territory of wind power generation by acquiring U.S.-based wind power turbine maker DeWind for $50 million. DSME plans to invest some $70 million in its latest affiliate in the near future to develop new turbine models.


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