In a bid to stay competitive Japan’s top shipbuilders and lines are coming together to share technology development. A new organisation will be developed this summer, led by Japan’s National Maritime Research Institute. Major domestic shipbuilders including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Imabari Shipbuilding, Japan Marine United, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding and Kawasaki Heavy Industries will be joined by MOL, NYK and K Line in the group that will look at developing technology for the next generation of ships.
Autonomous ships and green technology will form the two cores of the research.
Japan, the largest shipbuilding nation in the world at the start of this century, has seen its global market share steadily eroded by neighbours China and South Korea.
In February, Shinjiro Mishima, president and chief executive of Japan Marine United, called for a new round of Japanese yard mergers. He stressed that Japanese shipbuilders would need to pursue mergers and acquisitions, or risk disappearing from the scene amidst cheaper competition from China and South Korea.
Last year, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries also sought to form an alliance with compatriots Imabari Shipbuilding, Oshima Shipbuilding and Namura Shipbuilding to try and cut costs.