Japan Launches New Nihon Shipyard in JV Between JMU and Imabari 

Japan's new shipyard Nihon
Imabari will take the lead in the new joint venture (file photo)

Published Jan 6, 2021 7:05 PM by The Maritime Executive

Nine months after announcing their intentions to form a new joint venture, two of Japan’s largest shipbuilders launched their new company which they named Nihon Shipyard. The effort had been delayed since the fall of 2020 while the companies worked to gain regulatory approval for the joint venture.

Japan Marine United Corporation and Imabari Shipbuilding initially announced their intention to combine efforts in a bid to enhance Japan’s competitive position in the shipbuilding industry. The Japanese industry has been eclipsed by the efforts in China and South Korea. In recent years, Japanese shipbuilders have run a distant third to their Asian competitors for new orders.

The plan is to use the resources of the two shipbuilders to maximize the benefits and increase their overall competitiveness. Nihon Shipyard will focus on the design and construction of eco-friendly ships that emit less greenhouse gas, said the president of the new firm, Maeta Yoshinori. Nihon plans to promote a broad range of commercial shipping except LNG carriers.

In the original announcement of the plan, the companies said, “Amid the ever-intensifying competitive environment where shipbuilders overseas have become more integrated, our aim will be to strengthen both companies’ international competitiveness in the merchant shipbuilding business.” Their goal is to maximize the effectiveness of the new company by joining the marketing and design capabilities of the respective company,” the companies said in a press release.

The new joint venture will be 51%-owned by Imabari while Japan Marine United will hold 49 percent. 

The effort marks the latest consolidation in the Japanese shipbuilding industry, which has sought to strengthen its position through mergers and joint ventures. The Japanese government is also reportedly preparing efforts to support the domestic shipbuilders. It is believed they will offer long-term loans, tax breaks for setting up new ventures, and subsidies for technological development.