From New World Encyclopedia
"Dockyard" redirects here.
The Norfolk Naval Shipyard, belonging to the U.S. Navy, is one of the largest shipyards in the world.

Shipyards and dockyards are places that repair and build ships. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners, or other cargo or passenger ships. The terms dockyards and shipyards are routinely used interchangeably, in part because their roles have often been interchanged or merged over the course of time. Sometimes, however, dockyards are associated more with maintenance and basing activities, whereas shipyards are associated more with initial construction. The site of a large shipyard normally includes many specialized cranes, dry docks, slipways, dust-free warehouses, painting facilities, and extremely large areas for the fabrication of ships.

When 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 out in dry docks in developed countries, but high wages and environmental regulations have resulted in movement of the industry to developing regions.

Kawasaki Shipbuilding Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works, Kobe, Japan.
Construction hall of Schichau Seebeck Shipyard, Bremerhaven.
Small shipyard in Klaksvík (Faroe Islands), repairing fishing vessels.
Gdynia Shipyard.


Countries with large ship-building industries include Australia, Japan, China, Germany, Turkey, Poland and Croatia. The ship-building industry tends to be more fragmented in Europe than in Asia. European countries have a larger number of smaller companies, whereas the ship-building countries of Asia have fewer but larger companies.

Most ship builders in the United States are privately owned, the largest being Northrop Grumman, a multi-billion dollar defense contractor. The publicly owned shipyards in the U.S. 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 center. Sir Alfred Yarrow established his yard by the Thames in London's Docklands in the late nineteenth century, before moving it northward to the banks of the Clyde at Scotstoun (1906-1908). 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 world's earliest dockyards were built in the Harappan port city of Lothal circa 2400 B.C.E. 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 maritime 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.

Ships were among 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

  • Lothal in Gujarat, India circa 2400 B.C.E. to 1900 B.C.E.
  • Blackwall Yard 1614 to 1987
  • Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd 1837 to 1912
  • John Brown & Company 1851 to 1972
  • Gdańsk Shipyard the birthplace of Solidarity Movement - (still a working yard)
  • Swan Hunter - (closed in April 2006 and sold to Bharati Shipyards, India's second largest private sector shipbuilder)
  • Harland and Wolff - (still a working yard)
  • Cammell Laird - (still a working repair yard)
  • Blohm + Voss, where the Bismarck was constructed (still a major yard)
  • Royal Naval Dockyards in the UK (including Woolwich, Deptford, Chatham, Portsmouth and Devonport), Gibraltar, Bombay, Bermuda, Hong Kong and elsewhere worldwide
  • Bethlehem Steel Corporation had 15 shipyards during World War II
  • Staten Island Shipyard 1895
  • Charlestown Navy Yard, later Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts 1800 to 1974
  • Ulstein Verft, Norway, established in 1917 (still a working yard under the Ulstein Group)
  • Navy Island, Ontario, Canada - French in 1700s, then British 1763 to War of 1812
  • Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Mare Island, California, 1854 to 1996
  • New York Naval Shipyard (NYNSY), also known as the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the New York Navy Yard, and United States Navy Yard, New York 1801 to 1966
  • Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 1799 to 1995, at two locations
  • San Francisco Naval Shipyard, later Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, then Treasure Island Naval Station Hunters Point Annex, 1941 to 1994
  • Potrero Point, San Francisco, California, 1880s - still a working yard
  • Long Beach Naval Shipyard, 1943 to 1997
  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, located on Maine-New Hampshire border; Operational: 1800 to present, making it the oldest continuously-operating shipyard of the US Navy.
  • Chantiers de l'Atlantique(Aker Yard France) - established in 1861 (still a working yard)
  • 3. Maj - One of the largest shipyard in Mediterranean, established in 1892 in Rijeka (still a working yard)

Prominent dockyards and shipyards

  • BVT Surface Fleet, a joint venture between BAE Systems and VT Group 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 Template:Sclass. This division has built surface ships in the past and will manufacture blocks of the Queen Elizabeth class.
  • Northrop Grumman Newport News, (formerly Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company) is the largest private ship builder in the US and the one best known for its unique capacity to build the Template:Sclasss.
  • Cochin Shipyard is the largest shipyard in India. Currently an aircraft carrier, the Indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) is under construction at Cochin shipyard.
  • Devonport Dockyard,[1][2] 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 CourageousTemplate:WP Ships HMS instances, a nuclear powered submarine used in the Falklands War and open to the general public.[3] Facilities in the local area also include a major naval training establishment and a base for the Royal Marines.
  • Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers is located in India. It is owned by the Government of India and is constructing the Shardul class Large landing ship tank for the Indian Navy.
  • 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.
  • Ingalls Shipbuilding, part of Northrop Grumman's Northrop Grumman Ship Systems sector, located in Pascagoula, Mississippi repaired the USS Cole and builds offshore drilling rigs, cruise ships and naval vessels.
  • Mazagaon Dockyard, operated by state-owned Mazagaon Dock Limited, is one of India's largest shipyards. It constructs a variety of ships both for the defence and civilian sector. The dockyard is known for constructing Britain's HMS TrincomaleeTemplate:WP Ships HMS instances. Currently the shipyard is building three Shivalik class frigates and three Kolkata class destroyers for the Indian Navy.
  • Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, is one of the largest shipyards in the world; specializing in repairing, overhauling and modernizing ships and submarines. It's the oldest and largest industrial facility that belongs to the United States Navy.
  • The Portland, Oregon shipyard, operated by Cascade General Ship Repair,[4] is the largest such facility on the United States West Coast.
  • Yantai Raffles[5] is the largest ship builder in China located in Yantai. It has built numerous cargo ships, tugboats and support vessels, as well as pleasure vessels such as yachts.
  • The beach at Alang in the Indian state of Gujarat is the site of a large complex of shipbreaking yards where many salvaged ships are processed.
  • Karachi Shipyard[6] is the only shipbuilding company in Pakistan located in Karachi. It has built numerous cargo ships, tugboats and support vessels, naval vessels, submarines and frigates.

See also


  1. Safety upgrade for nuclear submarine base BBC News, May 22, 2002, Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  2. Scientist raises new radiation fear BBC News, July 5, 2001, Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  3. Nuclear sub to go on display BBC News, December 6, 2001, Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  4. Welcome to Cascade General Shipyard. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  5. Welcome to Yantai Raffles. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  6. Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works. Retrieved January 25, 2009.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Drummond, David S. 2003. The Shipyard: Will It Float? New York: iUniverse. ISBN 059527532X
  • Eyres, David J. 2007. Ship Construction, 6th ed. Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 978-0750680707
  • Pelletier, James Laurence. 1997. Worldwide Ship and Boat Repair Facilities. Augusta, ME: Marine Techniques Publishers. ISBN 0964491524

External links

All links retrieved January 27, 2023.


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