Japan’s MHI and Imabari Shipbuilding Team Up on New LNG Carrier Joint Venture

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March 25, 2013

The “Sayaendo” has a peapod-shaped continuous cover over spherical LNG tanks that is integrated with the ship’s hull, enabling a more efficient ship structure and reductions in weight and size. MHI has so far received orders for five such units with the first ship currently under construction. Illustration MHI

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Imabari Shipbuilding Co. have teamed up on a new company aimed at the large-scale design and marketing of LNG carriers in order to meet the growing global demand for liquified natural gas.

The joint venture, called MI LNG Company, will be 51%-owned by MHI with the remaining 49% owned by Imabari Shipbuilding and will have its head office in Minato-ku, Tokyo.

The new company will have a total shipbuilding capacity of more than eight LNG carriers per year, with construction taking place at either MHI’s Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works or Imabari Shipbuilding.

MHI has been in LNG carrier development and construction business since the 1970’s, with 42 ships delivered to date. Imabari Shipbuilding is Japan’s largest shipbuilder in terms of both tonnage and sales revenue and also has LNG carriers in its portfolio.

Together MI LNG Company will have the ability to take orders for multiple LNG carriers, with types ranging from the conventional Moss type tanks to the so-called “Sayaendo,” a new-generation LNG carrier developed by MHI which promises enhanced energy savings and operability.

The new JV is not the first time the two companies have collaborated on a project. In May 2012, MHI agreed with Imabari Shipbuilding to collaborate on container carrier technology, and in July won licensing rights to manufacture and market deck machinery. Later in October, the two companies jointly received an order for two energy-efficient, next-generation pure car and truck carriers from Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line).

MI LNG Company will be capitalized with 50 million yen and will become effective April 1, with operations beginning April 8.

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