Can Japan Lead the Marine Renaissance?


Japan coming out with latest technologies can lead the Maritime Renaissance


Oceans on all sides made Japan develop as a champion of sea trades in the long run, with significant presence in LNG carriers, dry bulk cargo barge and pure car truck carriers (PCTC).

To beat the competition from Chinese and south Korean players Japan decided to move towards building technically advanced high-end vessels, investing in technology innovations.

Some of the technologies they are developing on:

Gas-powered LNG carriers :

The LNG market remains the key powerhouse for Japan’s marine industry.

In order to attract orders, Japan must build its LNG carriers with innovation and technology at the forefront while remaining affordable.  With the marine market struggling as much as it is, operators want cost-effective ships that allow them to work as efficiently as possible within a strict budget.

GE’s combined gas turbine electric and steam (COGES) system, will be the world’s first turbine-powered LNG carrier, which will enable more eco-friendly and fuel-efficient vessel design.

A more environmentally sound approach

Unique aim of all the marine market players is to reduce the carbon emission.  In this play, Japan has taken a challenging task to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 30 percent from international shipping.  Japan could distinguish itself as a green shipbuilder, producing ships that are better for the environment.

By using a COGES system, LNG carriers can meet IMO Tier III and United States Environmental Protection Agency Tier 4 standards without the need for exhaust after treatment.  The COGES system produces low emissions and can operate on either natural gas fuels or marine gas oil.

GE’s L250/V250 Marine diesel engines are also built to reduce key emissions (in some cases by more than 70 percent and are certified to meet EPA Tier 4 and IMO III), demonstrating a remarkable step forward in engine technology innovation.


Marine industry can benefit from new digital technology to further drive efficiency.

Efficiency should be considered right from the design phase.  Advanced modelling software can be used to forecast a ship’s projected usage and inform if the ships are fit for fulfilling tasks that they were designed for and thus operating as efficiently as possible.

The software analytics can also bring “predictivity” to marine operators, a real leap from traditional energy efficient marine equipment.  Powered by Predix*, GE’s SeaStream* Insight, can predict potential failure of a part before it strikes.  Given the current conditions of the market, this level of agility is key for any operator, and Japan’s industry could make this one of its key offerings, differentiating it from its close competitors.

Preparing for the future

The marine business is cyclical in nature.  Japan can look at regaining some of the ground it lost in the ’80s by offering high-performance vessel.  Japan can achieve this by offering future proof new vessels with long-term reliability that are compliant to any foreseeable  financial or environmental issues. The current depreciation of the Japanese yen also puts the nation in an advantageous position in the global market.

Japan can grab this potential opportunity, but it needs to be brave, focus on the future and begin to reclaim its title of shipbuilding titan.

Source: GE’s Marine Solutions


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