SUBIC BAY FREEPORT ZONE - South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction - Philippines (HHIC-Phil Inc.) welcomed the New Year with yet another milestone when it unveiled simultaneously two newly-built DWT 205,000 Bulk Carriers in its 300-hectare state-of-the-art shipyard facility recently.
The vessels, purchased by England-based Rio Tinto Shipping Limited, were named M/V "RTM Cabot" and M/V "RTM Drake", respectively. The ships, named after two renowned British explorers, will have London in the United Kingdom as their homeport.
The event was attended by HHIC-Phil senior officials led by President Jin Kyu Ahn, Rio Tinto top executives and representatives from classification society Lloyd Register.
Since 2008, HHIC-Phil has successfully delivered to various clients abroad a total of 48 vessels with an estimated value of US$2.9 Billion, thereby boosting the Philippines' export portfolio.
Last year, Hanjin delivered four vessels to Rio Tinto, including "RTM Dampier" and "RTM Zheng He", which was named after a British explorer and a Chinese navigator respectively, the M/V RTM Cartier, named after a French explorer , and the M/V Cook, a 204,000 deadweight metric tons bulk carrier.
The M/V "RTM Cabot" and M/V "RTM Drake are the latest addition to the vessels delivered to shipping magnate Rio Tinto.
But despite these succeses, the shipbuilding industry is already bracing itself for a very challenging year this 2013 as "The world shipbuilding market is really depressed since last year and this has already created cut-throat competition among shipbuilders", according to HHIC-Phil managing director for External Trade Team Taek Kyun Yoo.
Yoo said that " The European-debt crisis and the slowing down of the world economy continue to plague the global shipbuilding industry, which is still reeling the ill effects of a very low shipbuilding demands last year due to fewer maritime activities. Many pundits believe that these economic uncertainties may result to huge drop in sales for new commercial vessels this year, as many international shipping companies still remain conservative on business expansion, and incessantly look for modern and highly cost-efficient vessels to revitalize their fleet just to keep their business afloat amid the looming crisis. "
He said that " due to Hanjin's vast experience and high-technology, the Philippines currently ranked 4th among the largest shipbuilding countries in the world as per the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA). The country's unprecedented leap from a virtual unknown nation in building massive ship is also widely credited to Hanjin shipyard's 19,000 highly skilled and in-house trained local workers.