A study by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Nomura Research Institute (NRI) showed that the Philippines has the potential to become a shipbuilding and repair center for oceangoing merchant and fishing vessels in Asia-Pacific, with bays and deep seashores, abundant labor and fiscal incentives. The country hosts some of the world’s leading shipbuilders: Japan’s Tsuneishi, which has its 2nd largest facility in Cebu, South Korea’s Hanjin in Subic, and Singapore’s Keppel in Batangas. These companies build ships such as bulk carriers, container ships and passenger ferries.
JICA’s study, entitled “Accelerating FDIs in the Philippines Shipbuilding Industry,” is part of the industry roadmap of the Department of Trade and Industry. It suggests that Philippine Investment Promotions Plan and Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) should sell the Philippines’ strengths, provide locations with maritime data, and present opportunities to shipbuilders in China, Japan, and Korea. Business matching is urged between Filipino developers, shipbuilders, and suppliers and those of the three Asian nations.
As of first half of 2012, the Philippines was ranked as 4th world’s largest shipbuilder in terms of booked order, following China, Japan, and Korea. Shipbuilding is included in the 2012 Philippine Investment Priorities Plan, benefitting the food manufacturing, tourism, transportation, oil and steel industries. The Board of Investments approved incentives to the P259-million Filipino-owned ship repair facility Nautilus Shipyard Repair, Inc., being built at Navotas Fish Port Complex which, when it becomes operational in June, 2013, will have a capacity of 96 vessels as well as minimum berthing capacity of 7,500 tons.
There are today 121 shipbuilding and repair facilities in the country. In the past, industry output was limited to small ships, tankers, barges, and fishing vessels, but with the entry of big shipbuilders, ships with large tonnage capacities are being built. Marina data shows that the shipbuilding industry employs about 39,000 workers, including over 50,000 engineers and architects.