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Ships Taken Up From Trade (STUFT)

Ships Taken Up From Trade (STUFT) is an arrangment for supplementing the fleet in time of war under which a merchant ship takes aboard a naval officer to command, and sometimes a few other naval personnel to help run the ship. A number of merchant ships can usually be made available. In the case of the Falklands War where no friendly base was close at hand, it required the Royal Navy taking up from trade (STUFT) some fifty-four ships ranging from large passenger liners, repair vessels and tankers to deep-sea fishing vessels (for mine hunting purposes).

Although the Chinese navy's regular amphibious transportation strength is frail, the British armed force gave the Chinese navy considerable inspiration. This transportation strength, if concentrated reasonably, might solve the problems of military marine transportation. It could permit simultaneously the large-scale embarkation of troops on merchantman, and also might bring the urgent need for the cutting edge army, the armored cavalry group, for rapidly opening the enemy depth. The People's Liberation Army trains hard to capture the enemy's harbor positions. But Taiwan's armed forces also fully realize this point, regarding this early deployment of the Chinese army.

China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), the PRC's state-owned shipping company, operates under the direction of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and answers to the PRC State Council. China Ocean Shipping Company [COSCO] owns and operates more than 100 general cargo and specialized carriers on the basis of liner and tramp services, including state-of-the-art heavylifts, semi-submersible, ro-ro, multi-purpose, car carriers with their overall capacity ranking ahead in the world. Cosco was deemed by the U.S. House of Representatives Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare to be a military-related entity. According to the Task Force report, Although presented as a commercial entity, Cosco is actually an arm of the Chinese Military.

China Ocean Shipping Company attempted to lease port space that was being vacated by the U.S. Navy in Long Beach, California. The lease proposal led to a heated debate between Congress, which wanted to prevent the lease based on national security concerns, and President Clinton, who supported the lease. Legislation passed by both houses of Congress in 1997 barred the lease and voided the President's authority to grant a waiver. COSCO's shipping fleet handled about 85% of Chinese exports to the United States.

According to the 1995 international ship registry society records, China had about 1,700 existing merchantmen of 1,000 tons or above, with a total freight volume above 3 million tons, [the world's fifth place].

On Dec 8, 1999, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co (COSCO) Shipping Co., Ltd. (COSCO Shipping) was jointly established by Guangzhou Ocean Shipping Company, Guangzhou Ocean Shipping Agency, Shenzhen Ocean Shipping Co., Ltd. and COSCO Guangzhou International Freight Forwarding Co., Ltd. On April 18, 2002, COSCO Shipping, with registered capital of RMB 468 million, went public at the Shanghai Stock Exchange under the name of COSCO Shipping (600428) which became part of the Shanghai Stock Exchange 180 Index in 2003. It owns and operates 89 ships including heavy lift, semi-submersible, ro-ro/lo-lo, multi-purpose, general cargo ships and pure car carriers, totaling over 1,400,000 DWT.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Communication, by the end of 2000, China has owned a fleet of 2525 vessels for international shipping with 37 million deadweight tonnage, of which 1986 were Chinese vessels with 17 million deadweight tonnage, making up 46.3% of the aggregate international shipping fleets and 539 ships are the flag-of-convenience ships controlled by Chinese enterprises with the deadweight of 19.90 million deadweight, taking up 53.7% of the total carrying capacity. In 2000, China's international shipping fleets made up 5.3% of the total carrying capacity of the world fleets, and container slots accounted for 5.0% of the aggregate world slot capacity. The total carrying capacity of China's fleets still ranked the fifth place in the world.

Vessel investment is mainly made by China's state-owned enterprises and it seems that some investment bodies have become interested in the international shipping sector in China in the recent years. China Ocean Shipping Company, China Shipping Group Company and China National Foreign Trade Transportation Corporation have made large scaled investment with the joint proportion exceeding 60%. For the purpose of vessel type structure, bulk carriers have taken the largest proportion, making up 55.9% of the total deadweight of the China's international shipping fleets (including convenient flag vessels). Next is the oil tankers, accounting for 15.1%. Container ships, general cargo vessels and multi-purpose vessels have made up 13.0%, 7.1% and 6.2% respectively. The proportion of other type vessels seems a little bit small.

By the end of 2000, the carrying capacity of domestic transport fleets reached 29.05 million deadweight tonnage, 1.01 million passengers berths and 28000 TEU slots, with 8.53 million deadweight tonnage for coastal shipping and 20.52 million deadweight for inland waterway transport, making up 96.9% and 70.65 of the aggregate domestic carrying capacity.

In 2000 there were 290 shipping companies registered in China and engaged in international shipping and most of the shipping companies, except China Ocean Shipping Co. [COSCO] and China Shipping Group, tended to be small, with the average carrying capacity of below 10,000 deadweight tonnage, some of them being single-ship companies. The competent authority in charge of transport under the State Council put forward the guiding ideology to speed up structure adjustment of shipping enterprises and development of scale transport, to encourage merge of shipping enterprises and large-sized cargo owners, to encourage alliance of shipping enterprises with powerful strength and competition capability with assets as links; to build large-sized shipping enterprises and groups of trans-area, trans-sector, trans-ownership and trans-nation operation; to stimulate medium and small sized shipping enterprises through restructuring of assets, reform and reorganization, merge and alliance, share stocking etc. so as to establish satisfactory modern enterprise system and improve market competitive capability of the international shipping enterprises. Special ships such as large container ships, ro/ro ships, liquefied chemical carriers, oil-product carriers, high-speed passenger ships and ro/ro passenger ships will be developed in a large scale so as to increase the proportion of such ships in the coastal carrying capacity.

China Shipping Group was founded on 01 July 1997, in Shanghai. It is one of the 44 key state-owned enterprises under the direct administration of the Central Government and is a super-large shipping conglomerate that operates across different regions, different sectors and different countries. China Shipping has total assets of RMB 40 billion. Under its umbrella, there are five specialized shipping fleets of oil tankers, tramps, passenger ships, container vessels and special cargo ships, respectively, comprising 400 vessels with an aggregate deadweight of 11.5 million tonnes. China Shipping Group signed an Equity Joint Venture Contract with KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA, LTD (K-Line) on November 25, 2003 to explore the RORO transportation market jointly, and aimed to start conducting domestic and international Ro-Ro vessels transportation business in the first half of 2004.

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