The Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem) seeks to expand the Philippines’ shipbuilding sector through its participation in the 15th Asia Pacific Maritime (APM) exhibition in Singapore from March 14 to 16.
“With the onset of globalization, opportunities are [becoming]immense in shipbuilding and repair. This drives us to [chart]a new direction in trade promotion [and lead]the first-ever Philippine exhibit in [the]APM to highlight the country’s promising prospects in international maritime trade,” DTI-CITEM Executive Director Clayton Tugonon said.
APM is Southeast Asia’s largest maritime and offshore exhibition that serves as a one-stop market for the region’s maritime community. It will feature the latest in marine equipment, technologies and services, as well as port technology. More than 14,000 visitors and buyers from Asia and 1,500 exhibiting companies from 60 countries are expected to come.
The Philippine delegation to the event aims to invite more foreign investors and trade partners to augment the country’s export-oriented operations of shipbuilding and maritime firms in partnership with the Board of Investments (BOI).
According to Tugonon, the delegates will focus on creating new partnerships and one-on-one business-matching sessions as they leverage on the country’s world-renowned, highly skilled workforce and tout their cost-competitiveness, outstanding work ethic and fluency in English.
“Aside from our flexible workforce, the [Philippines’ location] carries a strategic advantage that should be attractive to potential investors,” the DTI-Citem official said.
“This includes an abundance of coastlines providing ocean access, adequate water depth, and suitable areas for sea trials,” he added.
“The Philippine is also [near]the center of global economic activity for shipbuilding and shipping, since [that]is concentrated in three East Asian countries,” Tugonon said.
“The Philippines is located along key Southeast Asian trade routes, making it a convenient location” to make ship repairs, he added.
Since 2010, the Philippines has been the world’s fourth largest ship producer, after South Korea, China, and Japan. In 2015, the Philippines accounted for 2.8 percent of world ship completions and 1.3 percent of ship exports.
According to a United States Agency for International Development study, export-oriented shipbuilding has played a role in the country’s economy since 1994. In 2015, it accounted for 2.6 percent of total Philippine exports worth $1.5 billion.
Total estimated revenue from the shipbuilding and ship repair industry was approximately $1.6 billion in 2015. The sector employs 48,000 workers and is concentrated in the greater Manila area and Cebu.
The Philippines primarily produces bulk carriers and container ships, as well as some tankers, for exports. Exports are driven by foreign-owned shipbuilders Hanjin and Tsuneishi. Two other notable firms are Austal (small aluminum passenger/mixed-use ships) and Keppel (mostly repair).