New Japanese shipbuilding alliance in works?

AUGUST 30, 2016 — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) said today that it "recognizes the need to undertake swift and progressive steps to secure the competitive strength required by Japan's shipbuilding industry in order to compete, and mark sustained growth, in the global marketplace."

MHI reports that about to launch discussions toward forming new alliances with three other companies — Imabari Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., Oshima Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. and Namura Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. — that share its awareness of the situation and "offer strong potential as mutually complementary, synergy-generating partners that would collectively provide Japan's commercial ship industry with robust global competitive strength."

MHI says the move toward forming these alliances targets the integration of MHI's strengths in shipbuilding technology and engineering with the three prospective partners' manufacturing capabilities and cost competitiveness. By combining these strengths, says MHI, the alliances would boost ship development capabilities, enhance negotiation response, and enable further cost reductions, thereby accelerating the buildup of competitive strength in the global market.

MHI says it will announce the content of any concluded alliance agreements once details have been worked out.

MHI is also to begin considering the establishment of a technology center to undertake advanced technology development and education in shipbuilding technologies and skills. Establishment of the new facility would target the creation of new basic technology and human resources development to disseminate Japan's commercial ship technologies globally, as a way of carrying on and further developing Japan's shipbuilding technologies applying MHI's resources in commercial ship technology.

Going forward, MHI plans to issue a broad call for participation in the technology center by Japanese shipbuilders, marine transport companies, etc., "with the aim of elevating the global presence of Japan's shipbuilding industry through integration of the diversified knowledge possessed by partners in the industry."

MHI notes that the findings on its cruise ship construction business,reached by an internal evaluation committee are now being compiled and will be announced in October.

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