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Hanjin returns to offshore as ship orders dry up

SOUTH Korea’s Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction plans to return to offshore business after a 32-year absence. HHIC said it had established a 60-strong team to recapture a place in the offshore sector, in the absence of any commercial ship business. “Orders have come to a halt following the global financial crisis. On the contrary, there are great expectations for demand in the offshore sector,” an HHIC spokesman said. HHIC had a high reliance on boxships and now needs to step into the offshore business to overcome the current market conditions and ensure mid- to long-term growth, he added. Preparation is now under way within the company for the development of offshore vessels such as liquefied natural gas production ships, drillships and liquefied natural gas import vessels. The company said that the establishment of its Subic Bay yard in the Philippines had given it the necessary space to contemplate expansion into the offshore sector. In the mid-1990s, HHIC invested $26m for the development of Asia’s first membrane-type LNG vessel but could not continue because of the limited space at its domestic yard. “Previously, it was not possible for us because of hardware problems, but since the completion of our new shipyard offshore plant business is now possible. As productivity increases at Subic it is providing us with more opportunity for new challenges,” the spokesman said. But it will not be that simple. HHIC has to secure a design team for offshore plant development and form alliances with external engineering groups to boost its capabilities. “We know that we have got into the business late compared to other competing yards but HHIC developed Korea’s first drillship in 1977 and the idea behind the floating storage, production and offloading vessels is based on that model, so with our accumulated technology we are confident that we can make a success of the project.”

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