THICI launches another ship

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A WEEK after it launched a 58,000-deadweight metric ton ship, Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu), Inc. launched a bigger vessel yesterday, the 82,000-deadweight metric ton type bulk carrier SC-209.

The SC-209 or M/V Emerald Star is the 185th ship launched by THICI since its opening in Cebu in 1994. Leading the ceremony yesterday was Gov. Hilario Davide III who told reporters that it was his first time to attend a ship launching as a governor.

The ship is owned by a Japanese national who planned to use it to carry coal, nickel and other mining products, said THICI president Hitoshi Kono. The owner has booked 11 ship orders in THICI from 2014 to 2016.


SC-209 has an overall length of 229 meters, breadth of 32.6 meters and depth of 20 meters. It will be delivered to the owner by the end of July.

As of last March, THICI already delivered seven vessels and booked 21 ship orders for 2014.

Davide, during his talks with THICI officials, said the presence of THICI and its continuous production of ships for the global market will attract more investors to Cebu.

“(I hope this will) put Cebu in the minds of investors looking at Southeast Asia,” Davide said.

Enough space

AboitizLand assistant vice president for industrial Terrie Abad said in a text message that the 274-hectare West Cebu Industrial Park “still has enough space to accommodate shipbuilding locators.”

Kono announced last week that THICI in Balamban will become the mother shipyard of Tsuneishi in Southeast Asia as it is now preparing to open another shipyard in Indonesia.

Philippine shipbuilding ranks fourth in the industry, after China, Korea and Japan respectively.

To strengthen the country’s shipbuilding industry, Kono said THICI opened the Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Academy inside their facility. It is currently training 29 THICI employees for three months on shipbuilding and related processes.

Kono said the company is considering to open the academy to employees and outsiders alike in the future.

The Board of Investments said in its website that the Philippines, which specializes in ship production, will likely exceed market share of traditional shipbuilding nations. It cited the country’s readily available skilled manpower, abundant areas to set up shipyards and the liberalized import of raw materials.

“The importation of major raw materials has been liberalized since 1989 that allows companies to get good quality inputs at favorable prices considering that raw material costs and their availability affect the competitiveness of the shipbuilding industry.

In addition, shipbuilders located in economic zones enjoy tax and duty exemptions,” said the website.

Foreign ownership

Shipbuilding is also not covered by limitations of foreign ownership, which means foreign investors can fully own their companies, the website said.

In addition, a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency suggested that the “Philippine Investment Promotions Plan and Maritime Industry Authority should sell the Philippines’ strengths, provide locations with maritime data, and present opportunities to shipbuilders in China, Japan, and Korea. Business matching is urged between Filipino developers, shipbuilders, and suppliers and those of the three Asian nations.”

Meanwhile, Balamban Mayor Ace Stefan V. Binghay said THICI contributed a lot to the town’s economy, with 70 percent of the 13,000 employees coming from the locality.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 23, 2014.


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