Hanjin Subic books 56 vessel orders worth $4.9B
SUBIC BAY FREE PORT—Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp.-Philippines (HHIC-Phil) has booked 56 new building projects for its shipyard at Subic’s Redondo Peninsula, putting projected sales for all its vessel orders at $4.9 billion, a return which is more than double the firm’s total investments of $1.9 billion in the past four years.
According to Taek Kyun Yoo, HHIC-Phil’s general manager for external business, the Korean shipbuilder continues to receive ship orders, thereby increasing the firm’s manpower requirements to about 25,000 workers by 2012.
“Hanjin has contracted the construction of 20 more vessels worth about $1.2 billion in the first half of this year,” Yoo said in a recent briefing conducted for Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and other provincial officials at the HHIC-Phil headquarters here.
The new contracts, Yoo also told Ebdane and his group, would progressively increase the number of shipyard workers from 16,000 in 2008 to 22,000 by the end of 2010, to 24,000 in 2011, and 25,000 in 2012.
Yoo also said in his presentation that Hanjin had already delivered 14 vessels since starting its maritime business here in 2006 with an initial investment of $750 million.
The Subic-made ships had so far ranged from container carriers, like the Panamax-type MV Argolikos, the first to be delivered in July 2008, to the Aframax-type crude oil tanker Eser K, which was delivered in March.
Yoo said, however, that the 56 vessels in Hanjin’s order book includes 34 bulkers that would range from 175,000 to 250,000 deadweight tons (DWT); 16 container ships with capacities ranging from 3,600 to 12,800 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs); and six tankers, two of which will be ultra-large crude containers with a capacity of 320,000 DWT.
With the new orders, Yoo said Hanjin has projected its sales performance to reach about $700 million this year, $935 million in 2011, and $1.28 billion in 2012.
Noting Hanjin’s projections, Ebdane said the growing job prospects at the Hanjin shipbuilding facility “augurs well for the development of the Zambales province, and to local efforts to strengthen the economic empowerment of Zambaleños.”
For this, Ebdane expressed appreciation of efforts by HHIC-Phil and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), the manager of the Subic Bay free port, for providing more local employment opportunities.
Ebdane said that for its part, the Zambales provincial government “would help out in the selection of qualified shipyard workers” through its Public Employment Services Office.
“We will be your partner in this effort, as you and the SBMA will be ours in making Zambales more progressive,” Ebdane said.
Yoo added that since 2007, Hanjin has trained some 22,000 welders, painters, pipe fitters, electricians, machinists and outfitters at its skills-training center in the Subic Bay free port. The trained workers were mostly hired later at the Hanjin shipyard, he said.
In a statement earlier, the SBMA said Hanjin has remained the topnotch export producer since last year by posting freight on board (FOB) value totaling $372.74 million in the first half of 2010.
SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza also said the SBMA expects Subic’s export FOB value to grow in the coming months, as Hanjin and other free-port enterprises roll out more products due to brightening prospects in global trade.
Arreza added that Hanjin’s new projects would boost not only local employment, but also the shipbuilding skills of Subic workers.
“This, in turn, would increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of the Subic Bay free port as an investment destination with a readily available pool of highly skilled manpower,” he added.
Written by Henry Empeño / Correspondent