Happy new year everybody!I wish you the very best for the year 2013.
At the end of 2012, the hottest topic in Japan and nearby Asian countries was our Lower House election. The voters handed a landslide victory to Liberal Democratic Party over Democratic Party which was in power for 3 years. Suffering from deflation, yen-appreciation and nuclear accident shock, I personally and sincerely hope the new Cabinet from the pro-business party will make timely decisions to realize the resurgence of Japan's economy.
By the way, headwinds to the world maritime industry, on which the shipbuilders depend, remain quite strong. With the cargo movement being sluggish worldwide since Lehman's shock, everyone still seems like searching the bottom of the endless stair. Fewness of orders, low ship prices, yen exchange rate under Y80/D1, and tightening of ship financing conditions - our headache continues to be quadruple!
Despite this 'stormy weather', we have delivered all the 2012 new building ships on time, just as planned. We are happy to report you that we managed to add some new orders for coastal vessels to our backlog list. It is noteworthy that we received many repair orders, too. Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank, on behalf of the company, our clients, shipowners, trading houses, brokers, and our other stake holders for their continuous patronage.
At the dawn of a year for which we can not expect any quick improvement of the situations, I make sure once again that Kyokuyo will maintain its basic strategy of focusing on "technically challenging and high-value added custom-made vessels" "in small numbers" "for world-wide customers" - the niche market it has dominated over the years. To reinforce this, we will apply our US and Japan patented SSS-bow - semi-spherically shaped bow that reduces wind pressure and fuel usage - to wider array of our products. The second strategy is to put more efforts into specialized coastal ship market, taking advantage of our reputed energy-saving technologies. Being aware that the both are not easy to pursue, I firmly believe 'Team Kyokuyo' will work tightly together to achieve good results, with our "spirit of challenge."
Kyokuyo also ongoingly tries to dollarize its costs by way of increasing the purchase from international markets, to protect itself from prolonged currency appreciation. For that purpose too, the company will provide more training and support for its employees to ensure they gain or improve English communication skills.
Reducing the manufacturing costs is the key for our survival in such a depressed market. For design sector, I expect further work improvement as we have virtually completed the full implementation of AVEVA, advanced 3-D system, into the designing processes. For production sector, work improvement will be attained by BMF (block master file) system and EMF (erection master file) system which contribute to optimize the factory-wide work force management in various work density.
Last year, Kyokuyo Shipyard Corporation marked 70th anniversary of its foundation. We replaced our 40-years-old main office building on that occasion.
As reported, the new building is more robust, safer and more high-tide and earthquake resistant structure. We have moved lockers and lounge space for workers there, next to the office of production division, so that all the employees can feel team spirit under the same roof, in the same mothership.
Finally, let me reiterate our resolution of new year : "each of us is committed to do his/her best, in a honest way, with the pride of a ship manufacturer, keeping safety-first in mind, for the sake of himself/herself, company, local community, and our valuable customers and other people involved who have given us opportunities to build our ships." Your continued patronage shall be highly appreciated!
Kyokuyo Shipyard Corporation