Tsuneishi ‘to be hub in expansion’

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Monday, April 14, 2014


SHIPBUILDER Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu), Inc. (THICI) in Balamban, Cebu is being considered to become the “mother shipyard” of THI in Southeast Asia.

That’s according to THICI president Hitoshi Kono in an interview with reporters yesterday. He said THI will be expanding this year in Indonesia. The company has facilities in Japan, Philippines, and China.

This year, THICI is celebrating its 20th year in the Philippines. It currently employs 13,000 workers, including in THICI’s affiliate companies.

With the opening of the Indonesian facility, Kono said some of THICI’s Japanese and Filipino engineers will be sent to that country. The exact location of the new plant and the corresponding investment cannot be disclosed yet, said Kono.

The official said THI Indonesia will not be competing with THICI products since Indonesia will be manufacturing smaller vessels.

Yesterday, THICI launched ship SC-207 or m/v Global Hospitality, a 58,000 deadweight metric ton bulk carrier.

Kono said m/v Global Hospitality was bought by a Japanese national and will be used in Indonesia. It is the 184th ship launched since THICI’s opening in Cebu in 1994.

The Japanese buyer has ordered five ships in THICI, with one already delivered. The delivery date for m/v Global Hospitality is targeted in mid-July.

As of March this year, THICI already delivered seven vessels. THICI general affairs department public relations officer Princes Mea D. Rosel said the company has booked 21 ship orders for 2014.

By 2015, ship orders are at 17. There are 21 ship orders in 2016 and 22 ship orders in 2017.

Of the ships delivered this year, Kono said most of them are Tsuenishi Economical Standard Ships (TESS), low-cost, fuel-efficient bulk carriers that follow the original design of Tsuneishi. More than 300 TESS have been built in THI Japan, China, and Philippines.

Kono said the demand for ships this year has increased compared in the last two to three years. He said ship owners now go for fuel-efficient and economical ships, which allow them to save 20 percent on fuel.

The official also acknowledged the present competition in the world’s shipbuilding industry. He said ships manufactured in China are sold cheaper than those made in Japan and in the Philippines.

Romeo Rosalejos, THICI Foundation general manager, said in a separate interview that there is a growing supply of ships now, especially with the increasing number of shipbuilders, but the demand has been steady or even gone lower.

He said the demand for ships is also dependent on the world economy.

“If the economy is good then there is movement of goods, (this means) they’ll be using more ships,” Rosalejos explained.

THICI general manager Hirohisa Kinoshita said China tops the shipbuilding industry in the world which is then followed by Korea, Japan, and Philippines.

He said ships built by THI are of quality and ensure safety. Most of their buyers are Japanese and Europeans, he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 15, 2014.

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