AsiaFinance and Insurance

Japan pushes new form of ship financing to get more orders

The Japanese government is pushing a new form of financing to get more ship orders on home soil.

The Maritime Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has got the 2014-established state-backed vehicle called Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN) to stump up cash for foreign owners to order ships in Japan.

JOIN will invest a portion, typically 20%, of its own equity when a shipowner decides to order a ship in Japan via an overseas special purpose company (SPC).

JOIN’s current exposure in logistics-related investments stretches to ports, railways and warehouses. No ship investments have featured in its first six years of existence but this is set to change now following the government’s decision to find this new form of ship export promotion to safeguard its ailing yards.

Both the Japanese shipowning and shipbuilding national associations are shareholders in JOIN.

Japan’s shipbuilding industry – the largest in the world at the turn of the century – has seen its dominant position eroded over the last 20 years by Asian rivals. Its market share today stands at around 20%.

An influential report from Danish Ship Finance published earlier this month warned Japanese yards seem especially challenged by a continued drop in newbuild contracting with up to 45 of them set to run out of orders soon.

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.


  1. So, plutocrats write an “influential paper” and Japan pays with sweets. Sly form of plunder.

    1. To be fair, knowing the speed at which Japanese bureaucrats work, this will have been in the works for quite a while – considerably longer than the very short interval since the Danish report came out.

      Japan has been complaining to the WTO for years about the Korean government supporting its shipbuilding industry, and this may be an attempt at a tit-for-tat, vis-a-vis Korea at least, and probably also China where there are always rumblings about state support for shipuilding.

  2. I don’t understand your complaints about the Japanese bureaucracy when it works for you for free.

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