Hakodate Steel Center is a joint venture of Metal One and Nihon Chemical (headquartered in Mihara City, Hiroshima Prefecture, with Mr. Shinji Murakami as president), the biggest players in the shot blasting market. Hakodate Steel Center, set up in May 2009, is a metal surface treating company targeting mainly shipbuilders. With its factory located on the premises of the Hakodate Shipyard of Hakodate Dock, a shipbuilding company headquartered in Hakodate City, Hokkaido, Hakodate Steel Center is engaged in a broad spectrum of businesses ranging from shot blasting and the primary coating of plates and shapes to such offshore cargo accepting operations as unloading and sorting for Hakodate Dock. Starting operations in April 2010, Hakodate Steel Center has a monthly treating capacity of about 8,000 tonnes. At present, it handles approximately 5,000 tonnes, some 90% of which is done for Hakodate Dock (including its Muroran Manufactory), and processes steel for use by bridge builders and tank fabricators.
Hakodate Steel Center is equipped with state-of-the art facilities, including an automatic painting line that can handle steel plates of up to 4.5 m in width (the first such facility in Hokkaido and Tohoku) and a real-time production management system utilizing wireless LAN-mounted personal digital assistants (PDA). Its service quality satisfies the Performance Standard for Protective Coatings (PSPC) applicable to ballast tanks, among others, adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to ensure the safety of ships.
With a yard situated along the quay on the shipyard premises of Hakodate Dock, Hakodate Steel Center takes advantage of its site, which permits offshore cargo handling, and can speedily accomplish procedures ranging from unloading, shipping out, sorting, and storing steel to initial processes, such as shot blasting and primary coating. Therefore, just-in-time deliveries are possible, resulting in significant contributions to cost saving and the production management of Hakodate Dock.
Mr. Shinji Murakami, who is also president of Nihon Chemical, said, "It was our long-cherished desire to do business in Hokkaido. Hakodate Steel Center is our first business establishment north of the Kanto region, and its launch has enabled the Metal One Group to build up a network of steel processing bases for shipbuilding that covers the whole country, from Kyushu and the Seto Inland Sea area to Kanto and Hokkaido and Tohoku. Also, we can contribute to substantially reducing costs and improving efficiency at Hakodate Dock because not only can we help the shipbuilder meet PSPC requirements but also the previous practice of marine transportation of steel from Nihon Chemical's Urayasu Plant can be replaced in its entirety, from unloading to painting at the next-door factory, which helps Hakodate Dock dispense with extra stock. I am proud of our being an ideal partner in the tripartite win-win alliance."
Hakodate Dock, which belongs to Namura Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., is said to be on a winner's team in the shipbuilding industry and is busy with an order book that is filled for the next four years. Reflecting the shipyard's thriving business, Hakodate Steel Center's first-year operation has been very successful. President Murakami said that he "foresees earning a profit." When the new company was set up, it received subsidies from Hokkaido and Hakodate City governments and recruited all its employees from its hometown, Hakodate. The company marked an auspicious start as an enterprise deeply rooted in the area.