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Top Five Japanese Shippers Expected To Report Dismal Earnings Reportedly, Japan's five major shipping companies are expected to report dismal earnings for the current business year ending March 31, 1995, under the weight of the strong yen and higher fuel prices.

The five companies are Nippon Yusen K.K., Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd., Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd., Navix Line Ltd. and Showa Line Ltd. Following are earnings projections for the shipping companies for the current business year. Figures are in billions of yen, with results of the previous year in parentheses.

Japanese Shipbuilders Cut Design Costs To Save Several Japanese shipbuilders are restructuring design operations to cut costs in an effort to battle the effects of the yen's steady growth and competition with shipbuilders in South Korea. Hitachi Zosen Corp. is hoping to cut its design costs in half by March 1996 by making full use of its intra-company computer network to link designing operations nationwide.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. is cutting its ship design staff by half and reassigning the other half to develop probes for submarine resources and other equipment.

Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co. is relocating half the design staff at its head office to outlying shipyards, where business expenses are lower.

Many shipbuilders are also introducing a computer system linking designing and shipbuilding operations to control parts and component supplies.

Japanese Steelmakers May Abandon Price Hike A planned increase in the price of steel by Japanese steelmakers may do a complete turnaround, as they attempt to combat imports from other industrial nations with cheaper prices. The intended increase would affect automobile and shipbuilding industries the most, as they account for approximately 70 percent of all steel demand.

The decision to increase prices for steel sold through trading companies and wholesalers to ordinary users came in late August. It was hoped the measure would improve lagging business. Total steel production will reach 100 million tons in 1994 for the first time in three years, a sign of a recovering economy and, to the steelmakers, a sign of hope for higher prices. But the automobile and ship builders are trying to lower steel prices - and since prices for steel from other sources such as South Korea can be as much as 20 percent lower than those for Japanese steel, they may succeed in forcing Japanese steelmakers into a price drop.

Steelmakers will reportedly try to make gradual cuts, staving off major measures until FY '96, when restructuring will make cuts less severe. Japan's Techno-Superliner Progressing The development project for the Techno-Superliner (TSL), a high-speed cargo ship expected to play a leading part in high-speed marine transport in the future, has technical targets to have a speed of 50 knots; payload of about 1,000 tons; cruising range of 500 sea miles or more; and seaworthiness enabling it to safely navigate rough seas up to Sea State 6.

This R&D project was launched in FY 89, and the basic aspects of technical R & D work were substantially completed by FY 92. Steady progress has been made, and the Technological Research Association of the Techo-Super liner is confident that the targets will be reached. Two hull types have been developed specifically for the project: a hydrofoil-type hybrid hull (TSL-F), and an air cushion-type hybrid hull (TSL-A).

Sea tests are scheduled to be carried out for data unavailable from tank tests. Two model ships were built, one for each hull type. The TSLF hull type is represented by the model Hayate, and the TSL-A type by the model His ho. The Hayate was built jointly by five Japanese shipbuilders at the Kobe Shipyard of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and the work to build the Hisho was split between Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

 
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