Japan in 'parallel' shipbuilding

Apr 17, 1997 02:00 AM

Japan's two leading shipbuilders have launched the so-called "parallel" construction of new ships following the easing of restrictions. The Ministry of Transport lifted several curbs on new shipbuilding work last autumn as part of the ongoing liberalisation programme. Tokyo has lifted restrictions which stopped yards building more than one ship at one dock. The industry had long argued that it was meaningless for Japan to keep such a ban in force, because the country's major rival, South Korea, is now carrying out parallel shipbuilding. Hitachi Zosen, the Osaka-based shipbuilder, has built panamax bulkers at its Maizuru shipyard in Kyoto Prefecture. But it has now decided to shift the construction of several panamax bulkers to its Ariake shipyard from Maizuru. As a result, Hitachi Zosen will now build a panamax vessel side by side with the construction of VLCCs at the Ariake shipyard, which is a specialised facility for VLCC construction.
Sumitomo Heavy Industries has started building three 73,000 dwt panamax bulkers at the VLCC dock in its Oppama shipyard in Tokyo Bay. Hitachi Zosen and Sumitomo have strictly observed the rules while some medium-sized shipbuilders often undertook parallel shipbuilding work - with tacit approval of the ministry - after receiving a large number of orders.

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