Tonnage Titans – 14. Shoei Kisen Kaisha

Shoei Kisen Kaisha’s Andersen Bridge. Credit: Olaf Schmidt

Established in 1962, Shoei Kisen Kaisha is the shipowning and leasing arm of Imabari Shipbuilding. The group, which includes Imabari Kokusai Hotel, was founded by and continues to be controlled by the Higaki family. Currently, the group’s chairman is Toshiyuki Higaki, whose son, Yukito, is the group’s president.

IHS Markit data show that Shoei Kisen Kaisha’s total tonnage is 9,908,913 gt. Its in-service fleet of 155 vessels comprises 80 bulk carriers (23 Capesizes, 20 Handysizes/Handymaxes, 20 Supramaxes, 13 post-Panamaxes, and 4 Panamaxes), 33 container vessels (1,577–20,000 teu), 18 vehicles carriers, 4 crude and products tankers, 1 woodchip carrier, and 3 liquefied natural gas carriers.

Its current orderbook of 16 newbuildings include a dozen 12,000 teu container ships that are being constructed for long-term charter to Taiwan’s Evergreen Line. The remaining vessels, all container ships, are believed to be built for long-term charter to Yang Ming Marine Transportation.

All of the vessels are registered to various special purpose vehicles (SPVs) that are incorporated in Panama or Japan. The Panama corporate registry shows that several members of the Higaki family are listed as directors of these SPVs.

Typical of Japanese family-owned tonnage providers, many of which are based in Imabari, Shoei Kisen Kaisha commissions newbuildings at its sister shipbuilder for long-term charter to established ship operators.

Many of Shoei Kisen Kaisha’s ships are chartered out to Japanese and international operators, such as Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, Mitsui OSK Lines, “K” Line, Furness Withy, Orient Overseas Container Line, Berge Bulk, Ultrabulk, Clipper, Pacific Carriers, Maersk, Eukor Car Carriers, Bocimar, and Oldendorff Carriers.

However, Shoei Kisen Kaisha is also understood to operate about 20 bulk carriers on the spot market or under short-period terms. Technical management of the fleet is handled in-house, although Shoei Kisen Kaisha also engages third-party ship managers, including Anglo-Eastern and Fleet Management.