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Tsuneishi Cebu's fourth slipway ready

Cebu: Shipbuilder Tsuneishi Heavy Industries Cebu Inc. (THICI) recently completed its P12-billion expansion project for its facility in Balamban town, west Cebu.

Shipbuilding, ship repair and manufacturing of outfittings for ships and vessels constitute the main business of the company as well as engineering and fabrication services.

THICI director Roberto Aboitiz said the expansion will require an additional 4,000 workers in the next three months, increasing total employment of the facility to around 9,000.

"Cebu has shown it can build high-quality vessels and this expansion is a testament to that," Aboitiz told the BusinessMirror.

The expansion, which includes a fourth slipway, allows THICI to build capesize bulk carrier cargo vessels to up to 190,000dwt.

By 2011, Aboitiz said THICI plans to increase building capacity from 14 vessels a year to 22 with the new 900-meter dock in full operation.

THICI's expansion is in stark contrast to its neighbor and sister company FBMA Marine Inc., which announced the ceasing of operations last month.

FBMA, which specializes in high-speed vessels and utility craft, had to let go of the remaining 100 workers as the global economic crisis caused companies to scrap fleet expansion.

Aboitiz, however, said THICI continues to enjoy brisk demand from overseas clients. The facility has full orders up to 2013 and more projects are being pursued to fill up the work schedule.

THICI reported $886.813 million worth of exports in 2008. The company delivered its 97th vessel in July--the 58,000-deadweight tonnage Medi Segesta to Orient Line Co. Ltd. The P12-billion project was registered with the Board of Investments.

THICI is a joint venture between Japanese-owned Tsuneishi Holdings which holds 80-percent stake in the company, while Cebu-based Aboitiz & Co. Inc. owns the remaining 20 percent. [07/08/09]

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