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Introduction of Group Companies
From Value One Summer 2007 No.17
Imari Steel Center Co., Ltd. is the exclusive steel products supplier of Namura Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., a midsize blue-chip shipbuilder that is situated adjacent to the company. Demand has increased rapidly amid an unprecedented shipbuilding boom, and the company has responded with intensive facilities investments.
Hand in Hand with a Shipyard to Respond to Increased Demand

Imari Steel Center is located next to Namura Shipbuilding's Imari Shipyard & Works and delivers nearly all the steel products Namura uses to build ships under a just-in-time delivery system. Acting as a subcontractor to handle all the preproduction steel product processing a shipbuilder requires - from receiving cargoes of steel products at the harbor (unloading and sorting) to shot blasting, rustproofing, inventory control and deliveries - the company has devised a system of timely deliveries tailored to production plans.

The company was founded in 1973, the same year Imari Shipyard was completed, with investments from three companies: Mitsubishi Corporation (40%) and Nissho Iwai (now Sojitz; 40%), which were the trading companies that supplied steel products to Namura Shipbuilding, as well as Namura Shipbuilding itself (20%). Functioning as a trading company instead of merely moving steel products from point A to point B - i.e., incorporating operations from preproduction processing for the shipbuilder to deliveries from steel manufacturers, or what is now called a value chain - was an advanced concept at the time the company was established.

Imari Steel Center's current annual production output is the company's highest ever at approximately 180,000 tonnes, reflecting elevated demand from the ongoing boom in shipbuilding. It appears that this increased activity will continue for the time being because orders are set for several more years under Namura Shipbuilding's production plans.

Emphasizing the company's scrupulous follow-up system, Takaya Tsunashima, who was appointed president in February of this year, says, "Namura Shipbuilding is in full production and is backlogged until 2012. This is likely to continue after that, too. We have been making facilities investments so that we may respond promptly and boost supplies of steel products."

In other words, Imari Steel Center matched Namura's 2005 capital investment in expanding shipbuilding capacity 1.5 times by replacing a large unloading crane. In addition, Imari Steel Center is planning to upgrade its yard crane this summer. Switching to the latest crane model is expected to substantially speed up unloading work in an effort to raise processing capabilities related to cargo consignment operations.

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