Japan’s Shin Kurushima Dockyard has launched a four-year project to expand its main shipyard as it seeks to upgrade facilities to meet the demand for low-emission ships.

Its dock 1 at the Shikoku-based Onishi plant will be lengthened from 200 metres to 230 metres and widened from 30 metres to 48.5 metres. There will be further upgrading and expansion of its outfitting quay.

Work on the project is set to begin in April this year, with a completion target of 2028.

“It would be difficult to meet the global demand for alternative fuel vessels using LNG, ammonia, methanol and hydrogen, in the current dock 1,” Shin Kurushima said in a statement.

Shin Kurushima has concentrated its efforts on carving out a speciality in the construction of small and medium-sized ships.

Its Onishi plant currently constructs pure car carriers up to 7,000 ceu and bulk carriers up to ultramax size.

The expansion will give the yard the physical capacity to build vessels up to kamsarmax size.

Amidst capacity cutbacks and industry consolidation in recent years, Shin Kurushima has emerged as one of the more expansive shipyards in the country.

In 2021, it acquired Sanoyas Shipbuilding and added its Mizushima facility to its stable of six shipyards.

In a separate development involving Japanese shipbuilding, Imabari Shipbuilding’s Kiyoshi Higaki has taken over as president of Nihon Shipyard, a joint venture between Imabari and Japan Marine United.

The executive, 54, was formerly Nihon’s vice president. He takes over the role of president from JMU’s Yoshinori Maeda, who is retiring.