SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co., Ltd. – Philippines (HHIC-Phil Inc.) has reached yet another milestone when it held the simultaneous unveiling of two newly-built bulk carriers in its modern 30-hectare shipyard in Redondo Peninsula on Tuesday.
The vessels, named after famous explorers Christopher Columbus and Abel Tasman, were the seventh and eighth ships purchased by leading international mining group Rio Tinto Shipping Limited.
“RTM Columbus” and “RTM Tasman”, which both tip the scales at 106,796 tons, will have London in the United Kingdom as their homeport.
Last January, Hanjin also delivered to England-based Rio Tinto executives the two vessels, M/V “RTM Cabot” and M/V “RTM Drake, each worth about $60 million.
Attending the event in Hanjin's modern shipyard in Subic for the unveiling of “RTM Columbus” and “RTM Tasman” were Annbel McGagh and Wendy Smith, together with HHIC-Phil Inc. senior officials, Rio Tinto executives Alastair Fischbacher, Allan Smith and John McGagh, and representatives from classification society Lloyd’s Register.
HHIC-Phil Inc. President Jin Kyu Ahn said that the Korean shipbuilder's capacity to produce high-tech ships is largely due to its ability to remain resilient amid the growing challenges facing the global shipbuilding market today.
“We continuously harness and maximize our shipbuilding capability and resources to win our clients’ trust and confidence. We believe that these are the vital ingredients in order for us to keep on exporting commercial vessels during these difficult times,” Ahn said.
Cutting-edge technology combined with highly trained and skilled manpower of its shipyard workers, Ahn said that Hanjin is "pushing hard to sustain a cost-efficient production system and meet, if not surpass, the clients’ expectations and demands.”
Ahn noted, however, that the shipbuilding industry has yet to regain its long lost ground owing to small demand this year for new vessels caused by diminished maritime activities around the world.
“HHIC-Phil Inc. is exerting its best efforts to be competitive and cope with this depressing situation, which has already created cut-throat competition among shipbuilders in the international front. Thus, any form of short or long term support to help uplift our industry by the public sector is welcome, if only to perpetuate, or push even further, the Philippines’ current 4th place ranking in the global shipbuilding arena,” Ahn said.
But despite this daunting task of keeping its core business afloat vis-à-vis the present economic reality, the Korean shipbuilder will continue to look after the welfare of the Hanjin shipyard workforce and prevent cutting down of operations, Ahn said.
Since 2008, HHIC-Phil Inc. has now successfully delivered a total of 51 vessels amounting to over $3 billion for various overseas clients mostly engaged in international trade and maritime solutions, thereby boosting the Philippines’ export portfolio. (Ric Sapnu)