New Ships weekly report

Share |

New Imabari dock to handle construction of ultralarge container vessels

Wednesday, 04 Oct 2017

Japan’s Imabari Shipbuilding has just opened the first new Japanese shipbuilding dock for container vessel construction in 17 years, but the yard is cautious about whether it will be able to make the most of the new facility.

With the new dock, the Imabari Shipbuilding will be able to handle construction of orders for large series of ultralarge 20,000-TEU container vessels, President Mr Yukito Higaki said. The company is finally in a place where it can compete internationally, he said. The dry dock measures 610m long, 80m wide and 11.7m deep. Three gantry cranes can together lift a single object as heavy as 1,330 tonnes. Both among the largest in Japan, the dock and cranes at the Marugame shipyard in Kagawa Prefecture cost US$359 million. Using the new dock and existing facilities at its main Saijo shipyard in Ehime Prefecture, Imabari can now construct ten ultra large container ships stretching roughly 400m long. A growing number of shipping companies are ordering container ships in groups of 10 to 20 to save on costs. With this in mind, Higaki stressed that the addition of the new dry dock has simply put Imabari at the starting line of a race against rivals. The company decided to build the dock after winning orders from Mitsui O.S.K. Lines of Japan and Evergreen of Taiwan for 20,000-TEU container ships. The contracts require the shipbuilder to deliver 13 such vessels by 2019. But the Japanese company has no other orders to
fill after that. Amid the intense competition among shipbuilders for ultra large container ship orders, Higaki said he was not so sure whether the company would be able to win new contracts for such vessels. The biggest source of the president’s pessimism is what he sees as an uneven playing field in the global shipbuilding market. “It is undeniable that Chinese and South Korean shipbuilders have the upper hand over us in sales talks because of assistance from their governments,” said Higaki, who said that: “It is not pure price competition.”

Find out more about the most important developments in the worldwide shipbuilding and offshore industry and try our weekly report "New Ships". Save your test issues here.