Home » Maritime » Japanese eye shipyard in Subic

THE Shipbuilders’ Association of Japan (SAJ) has expressed interest in setting up a shipyard in Subic, according to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chair Feliciano Salonga.

Salonga said the SAJ is eyeing a 100-hectare shipbuilding hub in the area in a bid to entice Japanese shipbuilders to partake in the country’s Domestic Shipping Development Plan (DSDP).

Salonga, who was in Japan for a four-day trade and investment mission the other week, said Japan is really looking for investment projects outside Japan with Subic as one of the options.

“The entry of Japanese shipbuilders would surely boost our domestic shipping development program,” Salonga added.

SBMA offered the Japanese shipbuilders a prime location to construct various types of ships for domestic inter-island trade such as tankers, passenger and roll on-roll off cargo vessels for local deployment.

SBMA cited the recent study conducted by experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which showed that the Philippine shipping industry today is composed of second-hand and aging vessels, most of which came from Japan.

It concluded that a total of 1,502 domestic vessels with ages ranging from 20 to 30 years old should be replaced and an additional 635 ships needed in the domestic trade starting next year until year 2015.

SAJ managing director Yoshihiro Midorikawa said they are impressed with the maritime development projects in Subic Freeport, including the entry of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co., Ltd. which is presently constructing a billion-dollar shipbuilding facility making Subic Freeport the host of one of the world’s largest shipyards.

SAJ was established in 1947 with 20 shipbuilding firms including Japan’s top shipbuilders such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd. and Universal Shipbuilding Corporation.

In his project presentation, Salonga said the SBMA will be setting up a modern shipbuilding facility designed to accommodate the fleet requirements of domestic shipping operators as part of the government’s domestic shipping development plan.

The project is intended to address an immediate need to build about 18 new tankers for the use of local shipping operators through the so-called lease-to-own scheme being offered by the National Maritime Leasing Corporation, a subsidiary of the National Development Corporation.

The SBMA is also banking on its existing and operational integrated logistic facilities and systems such as storage, loading and unloading, packaging, processing and information, and transportation to provide cost-reduction capabilities to shipbuilders.

Among the incentives being offered by the SBMA are tax and duty-free importation plus a 5% corporate tax on gross income, unrestricted entry of foreign investments, no foreign exchange control, and a four- to six-year income-tax holiday for qualified investors.

Shipbuilding has also been included in the government’s Investment Priority Program.

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