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.