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Keeping A Step Ahead

Numbers don't lie. The Japanese shipbuilding industry is having another solid year, as evidenced by the most recent statistics released from the Japan Ship Centre. From the time period between April and September 1996, new orders totaled nearly 5.8 million gt, a 24.5 percent increase over the same period the last year.

Despite fierce international competition, escalating labor costs and currency concerns, the Japanese maritime industry is maintaining its edge as the top builder of commercial ships in the world.

The following pages highlight many of the companies which have made, and intend to keep, Japan near the top of the commercial shipbuilding heap for some time to come. This section also houses the Great Ships of '96 from Japan.

Ship Machinery Production Up According to the Japanese Marine Equipment Association (JSMEA), ship machinery and equipment manufactured in Japan in 1995 totaled ¥819 billion, up ¥7.1 billion from 1994. Marine internal combustion engines alone accounted for 31.5 percent of that total (¥257.8 billion). (See chart to the right). In looking at the number of internal combustion engines produced, large diesel engines (over 10,000 PS in perunit power output) registered a 6.2 percent decline, while medium-sized diesel engines (1,000 to 10,000 PS output) registered a 5.6 percent decline.

The production of small diesel engines (lower than 1,000 PS) also slightly decreased, while the production of outvious year. The annual total of exports, which held a 17.4 percent share of overall output, registered a decline for the fifth straight year.

In looking at all of the products exported, only three categories constituted 85 percent of the total: marine internal combustion engines (¥71.9 billion, 50.4 percent of total export value); parts and accessories (¥27.3 billion, 19.1 percent); and nautical equipment (¥22.6 billion, 15.8 percent).

By destination, Asia accounted for 39.3 percent of purchases of equipment from Japan (¥56.1 billion), followed by North America (¥37.1 billion, 26 percent), and Europe (¥35.1 billion, 24.6 percent). Notably, these three regions alone held a combined share of 90 percent in the total value of ship machinery and equipment exported from Japan. Other significant buyers of Japanese equipment included: South America (¥5.1 billion); Oceania (¥4 billion); Africa (¥2.8 billion); and the Middle East (¥2.3 billion). Ship Machinery Production in 1995 Equipment Value (Mil ¥) Share (%) • Marine internal combustion engines 257,817 31.5 • Parts and accessories 188,523 23 Outfitting 114,541 14 1 Marine auxiliary machinery 79,587 9.7 • Nautical equipment 65,467 8 board motors increased 11.7 percent. On the export front, a total of ¥142.8 billion Japanese equipment was manufactured for use outside of Japan, roughly the same amount of the pre The Shipbuilders Any conversation about Japanese shipbuilding starts with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), the largest shipbuilder in the country. According to MHI's annual report, total ship sales for 1995 totaled nearly $2.6 billion, while ship repair and conversion activity accounted for $395 million. These numbers were not significantly more than the previous year. However, the company did suffer a higher than 25 percent slump in the steel structures and products category, a drop which resulted in a decline of 9.1 percent for the Shipbuilding and Steel Structures Group as a whole. During the year, MHI has won a number of impressive orders, including orders for a series of ten 4,173-TEU boxships from Taiwan's Evergreen Corp., two 4,369-TEU ships from Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), and two 4,900-TEU vessels from Orient Overseas Lines (OOCL).

 
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