Tsuneishi, Austal plan further expansion
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - January 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Two other shipping giants operating in the Philippines  are braving the rough waves of the global shipping business and are even expanding their business in the country.

Tsuneishi Heavy Industries Inc., a joint venture between Japan’s Tsuneishi Holdings and the Aboitiz Group, said it is business as usual for the company and that it has no plans to close its shipyard in Balamban, Cebu despite some slowdown in the global shipping business.

In an interview with The STAR over the weekend, Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) president and CEO Erramon Aboitiz said Tsuneishi continues to receive orders for the different types of ships it builds.

“Our order book is okay. We have no plans at all of shutting down. Everything is doing well and okay, “ Aboitiz said.

Last week, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines, the Philippine subsidiary of South Korean shipping giant Hanjin, declared bankruptcy.

But Tsuneishi remains optimistic on the global shipping industry despite some headwinds the past years.

Aboitiz said the backlog in orders isn’t as heavy as in the past years, but the orders continue.

In 2018, Tsuneishi was able to secure contracts and orders to deliver 17 ships – five ships of 82,000 dead weight tonnage, 11 ships of 64,000 DWT, and one 38,000 DWT, said Tsuneishi president Akihiko Mishima in his report to stakeholders last year.

Mishima said the marine industries are already slowly recovering from a big global depression.

“With manufacturing bases in Japan, and three overseas factories; THI in the Philippines, TZS in China, and ATP in Paraguay, the company has expanded its businesses all over the world in response to ever-changing market needs. In the next 100 years, we will work unflinchingly and open-mindedly to create an affluent future for all,” he said.

Moving forward, he said the company even plans to increase its production capacity in the future. 

In all, Tsuneishi is looking forward to capitalizing on the Philippine’s economic growth by becoming the “mother shipyard” among Southeast Asian countries, with Balamban being positioned as the “Shipbuilding Capital of the Philippines.”

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said another shipping company, Austal Philippines is also doing well. 

“The two (Tsuneishi and Austal) are safe and sound and even expanding,” Lopez said. 

Austal Philippines, which makes high speed ships for governments and navies, among others, also has operations in Balamban, Cebu.

In May, Australia-listed Austal Limited, the parent firm of Austal Philippines,  said it would invest $18 million to more than double the capacity of its existing Philippines shipyard. 

“The upgrades to the facilities will include a new assembly hall that will be 120 meters long, 40 meters wide, and 42 metres high. This will enable the shipyard to assemble the largest commercial vessels, based on Austal’s existing order book and tender pipeline,” it said.

The facility upgrades will also include additional assembly bays, material storage and accommodation facilities to allow the workload at the site to increase to more than twice its historic peak. These facilities are due for successive completion through 2018, with all construction complete by early 2019, Austal had said.

Lopez said that while Hanjin was affected by a slowdown in the global shipping business, its bankruptcy stemmed from cash flow problems related to its payment terms for its shipping orders.  

“Hanjin built big ships and recently, their payment terms were heavy on the tailend. This caused cashflow problems,” Lopez said.

ABOITIZ GROUP TSUNEISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES INC.
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