Japanese Ship Enterprises Companies Give up and Scale back Merchant Ships Building Business

In order to avoid price competition with Chinese and Korean shipbuilding companies, Japan's major integrated heavy industry groups have successively narrowed the merchant shipping business, reduced the construction of merchant ships such as giant oil tankers and cargo ships, and turned to higher-yielding businesses.

The head Okura Koji of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, a newly established subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in January, explained that there are still many difficulties confronting us although we have defeated the South Korean in the competition of low-priced takeover. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has decided to reduce the proportion of merchant ships building in the Koyagi Plant of Nagasaki Shipyard& Machinery Works to 50%, and considered cutting the production equipment such as cranes, while Nagasaki's shipbuilding business was once the main business of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The Koyagi Plant of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is mainly responsible for the construction of LNG and LPG vessels, and it is capable of constructing approximately 4 vessels per year. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plans to reduce the proportion of shipbuilding to 50% of the business structure of the incense burner plant by 2020, and turn to the construction of civil engineering structures such as bridges and wharfs and the repair work of passenger ships and.

Unlike other merchant ships such as bulk carriers and container ships, LNG ships need to transport ultra-low temperature cargo of minus 162 degrees, which makes it have a high added value. Despite this, with the growing demand of LNG, global competition for the orders of LNG ship has become increasingly fierce. Thus, in recent years, Korean ship enterprises have been receiving LNG ship orders with low price advantages.

In addition to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsui E&S System Research Inc. also decided to reduce the scale of merchant ship construction at Chiba Shipyard. Mitsui E&S System Research Inc. Chiba Shipyard is the largest shipyard in Tokyo's capital circle. It has three docks, of which the largest dock No. 3 can build a 400-meter-long, 300,000-ton VLCC. However, with the overcapacity of global shipbuilding, the profitability of Chiba shipyard continues to deteriorate. Mitsui E&S System Research Inc. plans to use the docks vacated by Chiba Shipyard to build bridges, submarine tunnel components, etc.

Tanaka Takao, President of Mitsui E&S System Research Inc.'s parent company Mitsui E&S Group, said that the transformation of Mitsui E&S System Research Inc. will be based on the Danish Odense shipyard. After the lost in competition with the Asian shipbuilding industry, Odense shipyard turned to the production of wind turbines. Currently, Odense Shipyard is building the world's largest offshore wind power equipment.

In the context of the reduction of merchant shipping business by the comprehensive heavy industry group, the Japanese shipbuilding industry is also facing a serious shortage of technicians. Among the existing site technical personnel in Japanese enterprises, the proportion of people over 60 years has risen sharply from 3% in 2007 to 12%. Senior employees with excellent skills will stay in the shipyard even after retirement through re-employment, and most shipyards are trying to inherit the technology.

Source: eworldship.com