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Introduction of Group Companies
From Value One, Summer 2015 No.49
Our Strengths and Distinctive Qualities
Supplying shipbuilding steel to JMU's Ariake Shipyard for over four decades
Diverse services offered include unloading, shot blasting, anti-rust coating and delivery
Equipped with one of the fastest shot-blasting machines in the industry
Steel Transshipment Base for JMU's Ariake Shipyard

Ariake Steel Center is located in Nagasu-machi, Kumamoto, facing the Ariake Sea. Nissho Iwai Corporation (now Sojitz Corporation), Nippon Steel Corporation (now Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation) and Hitachi Zosen Corporation (now Japan Marine United Corporation [JMU]) jointly established the company in 1973. For more than forty years since, the center has been a strategic foothold and a steel delivery transshipment base for the Metal One Group. Meeting the steel needs of the adjoining Ariake Shipyard of JMU, the center handles every phase of preliminary processing for all steel materials (plates and shapes for shipbuilding) that enter the shipyard—including unloading, sorting, shot blasting and anti-rust coating—and has set up a system that handles just-in-time delivery according to the shipyard's construction schedule. The center assists both steelmakers and customers by increasing shipping efficiency and providing value-added products to raise productivity, respectively. The center handles about 250,000 tonnes of steel annually.

Steel is carried to JMU's shipyard—located on the other side of a 1,500-meter stretch of sea—using a large, specialized barge and pushers. The sight of the barge—which can carry up to six trailers, each loaded with steel plates and shapes—departing and traveling across the sea is truly impressive.

In 2008, the center installed the latest shot-blast machine, one of the fastest in the industry, to realize a higher-efficiency processing line. Installing an automatic conveyer capable of carrying three huge plates at a time on the entry-side made successive insertion of plates possible.

The Ariake Shipyard is JMU's key production base, where very large crude carriers and other large tankers are built. The center's president Takeshi Kato—who took office in June 2014—is enthusiastically looking forward to the future. "Partly thanks to the weaker yen, Japanese shipbuilders are recovering the competitive strength they once had. JMU is no exception, with their order books filled until 2017, and expects this firm demand to continue in the immediate future," he says. "We will manage our business in a way satisfactory to not only JMU but also all other stakeholders, including steelmakers, Metal One and our employees."

The Metal One Group also has other service centers for shipbuilders, including Kyushu Steel Center Co., Ltd. (Nagasaki City) and Imari Steel Center Co., Ltd. (Imari City, Saga) both in Kyushu, and there is frequent contact between the service centers. "Imari has installed the same shot-blast machine as ours, and we have significant elements of synergy between us, including the sharing of technical information and use of common components," President Kato notes. The ties within the group also offer strong support.


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