Japanese shipbuilding firm plunks down P12 billion on Cebu facility

8/13/09 Cebu City – Cebu-based shipbuilding firm, Tsuneishi Heavy Industries Cebu Inc. (THICI) announced it will be hiring an additional 4,000 skilled workers in the next three months to man its recently completed P12-billion expansion project.

THICI Director Roberto Aboitiz said the additional workforce will increase total employment of the facility to around 9,000 skilled workers comprised of welders and pipefitters, among others.

“Cebu is still the right place to have a shipyard and the best place for quality manufacturing,” Aboitiz told the Manila Bulletin in a recent interview. “The expansion project is a testament to our commitment to the local shipbuilding industry.”

He said THICI intends to hire some of the displaced workers from another shipbuilding firm, FBMA Marine Inc., which ceased operations last month after getting zero orders from foreign clients early this year.

“We consider our people valuable assets because they are highly skilled. Our mission now is to help move our people to continue their employment within our group or to THI,” Aboitiz said, who is also chief executive officer of FBMA Marine.

THICI’s P12-billion expansion project includes a fourth slipway allowing the company to build up to 19,000-ton Panamax bulk carrier cargo vessels.

Aboitiz bared that THICI plans to increase building capacity by 2011 from 14 vessels annually to 22 vessels with the company’s new 900-meter dock in full operation.

THICI is one of the leading medium-sized shipbuilders in the world. Shipbuilding, ship repair and manufacturing of outfittings for ships and vessels are its main business. A diverse and multi-affiliated firm, THICI also engages in engineering and fabrication services.

Aboitiz said that amid a reported “drying up” in the global shipbuilding industry, THICI continues to attract overseas clients. He said the company has booked orders up to 2013 with more projects already in the pipeline.

In 2008, THICI reported $886.813 million worth of exports. The company delivered its 97th vessel in July—the 58,000-deadweight tonnage Medi Segesta to Orient Line Co. Ltd. THICI is a joint venture between Japanese-owned Tsuneishi Holdings with an 80-percent stake in the company, while Cebu-based Aboitiz & Co. Inc. owns the remaining 20 percent. (Manila Bulletin)

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