Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will expand the construction capacities for liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and very large crude oil carriers (VLCCs) of its Nagasaki Shipyard. To meet strong worldwide demand for new ships, the shipbuilder will increase its annual production capacity from the current five to seven ships during 2004 boosting its annual sales to 100 billion yen (US$942 million) from the anticipated 75 billion yen in the current fiscal year. It is planned to achieve it by reconfiguring of the existing production processes.
At present, the MHI facility plant can build three LNG carriers, one liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carrier and one VLCC a year. After operations are revamped, the yard will be able to turn out four LNG carriers, one LPG carrier and two VLCCs a year. The processes will also be reorganized to allow for the construction of a LNG carrier and a VLCC at the same time. Recently demand for gas carriers and VLCCs has grown due to the development of gas fields in the Middle East and an increase in demand for crude oil in China.