China Maritime Report No. 25: More Chinese Ferry Tales: China’s Use of Civilian Shipping in Military Activities, 2021-2022
- Michael Dahm
This report provides a comprehensive assessment of Chinese civilian shipping support to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), examining civil maritime-military activities from October 2021 through September 2022. As of 2022, the PLA and its reserve civilian merchant fleet are still probably unable to provide significant amphibious landing capabilities or the maritime logistics in austere or challenging environments necessary to support a major cross-strait invasion of Taiwan. However, large volume lift exercises conducted in 2022 suggest that the PLA has made significant progress in the use of civilian vessels for the large-scale lift of PLA troops and equipment into undefended ports, a capability that may be leveraged in a military assault on Taiwan. This report also discusses other civil maritime-military activities not previously observed, including the use of civilian vessels and infrastructure to conceal PLA troop movements, operations from austere ports, use of ocean-going vessels to transport PLA forces along inland waterways, and logistics support for China’s South China Sea outposts.
Publication Date January, 2023 Publisher China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S Naval War College
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