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MHI and Imabari form LNG ship JV to compete with Korea

Written by Nick Blenkey

MHI LNGMARCH 25, 2013 — Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Imabari Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. are setting up a joint venture company — MI LNG Company, Limited — to handle the design and marketing of LNG (liquefied natural gas) carriers.

The two companies say large-scale LNG carrier construction projects are expected to increase in tandem with expanding global demand for LNG.

With the shipyards of two companies at its disposal, the JV will be able produce more than eight LNG carriers per year. This will enable the JV to take orders for multiple LNG carriers, putting it in a position to compete against Korean and other large shipbuilders.

Besides membrane type LNG carrier types and the conventional Moss type with spherical LNG tanks, the JV will also offer the “Sayaendo” a new-generation LNG carrier developed by MHI from the Moss-type, but achieving enhancements in energy savings and operability. Its features include a peapod-like aerodynamic continuous tank cover integrated with the ship’s hull.

The JV will have its head office in Minato-ku, Tokyo, and will be capitalized at 50 million yen. MHI will own 51 percent of the equity and Imabari Shipbuilding the remaining 49 percent. On receiving an order for an LNG carrier, the JV will prepare the specifications, etc., and then order ship construction either at MHI’s Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works or at Imabari Shipbuilding.

Cooperation between MHI and Imabari Shipbuilding (Japan’s largest shipbuilder in terms of both tonnage and sales revenue) has been growing.

Last year, in May MHI agreed with Imabari Shipbuilding to collaborate in container carrier technology, and in July to license manufacture and marketing rights of deck machinery. In October, the two companies jointly received an order for two highly energy-efficient, next-generation pure car and truck carriers from Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line). This increasingly close relationship resulted in the latest collaboration agreement.

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