Mitsubishi Heavy seeks alliance with three other Japanese yards

Four major Japanese shipbuilders are in discussions to form an alliance to ride out the downturn.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) said it is in discussions with Imabari Shipbuilding, Oshima Shipbuilding and Namura Shipbuilding to form a grouping that would “collectively provide Japan’s commercial ship industry with robust global competitive strength”, MHI said in a release.

“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, 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 said.

MHI has split its shipbuilding capabilities between cruise and merchant shipbuilding in recent years.

MHI said it is also looking at establishing a technology center to undertake advanced technology development and education in shipbuilding technologies and skills. It will seek other yards to join in the new center.

A strong Yen and very limited appetite for new tonnage has pushed Japanese shipyards into a dangerous position. New orders in the first half plunged 82%, the worst performance seen since 2008. Japanese yards currently have a 19% global share of shipbuilding output and face severe competition from neighbors China and South Korea.

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