Former Hitachi yard to exit merchant shipbuilding

A Japanese dockyard prized by many owners in decades gone by for its VLCCs and panamax bulkers is to quit the merchant shipbuilding market in the latest cutback to shipyard capacity in the country amid fierce competition from rivals in China and South Korea.

Japan Marine United (JMU) will switch its Maizuru Shipyard to focus on naval repairs. Formerly Hitachi Maizuru, the Kyoto yard is one of five in the JMU stable. In recent years, the facility has focused on kamsarmaxes and MR tankers. Its current orderbook expires at the end of next year.

Loss-making JMU is getting a capital injection from rival shipbuilder Imabari, with the two groups set to combine their merchant shipbuilding facilities and Maizuru deemed surplus to requirements.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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