Following the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) announced 8 December 2017, Austal (ASX:ASB) announced yesterday the award of a A$68 million contract to design and build an 83 metre trimaran ferry for JR Kyushu Jet Ferry of Japan.
Australia’s Ambassador to Japan, The Hon Richard Court AC and Japan’s Consul-General in Perth, Western Australia, Mr Tatsuo Hirayama joined Austal’s Chairman Mr John Rothwell AO and Chief Executive Officer Mr David Singleton for a signing ceremony at the Australian shipyard with JR Kyushu Jet Ferry’s President, Mr Masayuki Mizuno and General Manager, Planning, Mr Hitoshi Ogawa.
“Austal congratulates JR Kyushu Jet Ferry on the selection of our proven trimaran platform to expand their Japan to South Korea route. This exciting new vessel will deliver excellent seakeeping and an unparalleled customer experience to JR Kyushu’s ferry network,” Mr Singleton said.
“This contract is an outstanding start to 2018 for Austal, following a record year for commercial vessel sales in 2017 - and reflects our continued focus as a technology-led organisation in developing industry-leading, customised solutions for commercial operators around the world.
Mr Ben Marland, Vice President Sales and Marketing, added “Austal’s unique trimaran hull design has truly revolutionised the commercial and defence vessel markets. This is the first high-speed trimaran ferry we have placed in to Japan and we are delighted to be partnered with JR Kyushu Jet Ferry on this prestigious route.
“With 9 Austal trimarans already in operation around the world, another 7 under construction and now 5 on order, it’s fair to say we are seeing a transformation in the market – and genuine customer enthusiasm for the proven technology, efficiency and capability of our design,” Mr Marland added.
The 83 metre trimaran, with a capacity for 502 passengers and an operational speed of 37 knots, will service JR Kyushu Jet Ferry’s key strategic route between Fukuoka, Japan and Busan, South Korea. The vessel will feature a customised interior, developed by respected Japanese design house, Don Design Associates, led by Mr Eiji Mitooka, famous for the luxuriously appointed interiors of JR Kyushu’s high-end passenger trains.
Construction of the vessel will commence in late 2018, with services scheduled to begin prior to the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Austal would like to acknowledge the assistance provided by the Australian Trade Commission Office in Japan in achieving this landmark sale, and in particular, Ian Brazier, the Consul-General and Trade Commissioner in Fukuoka, as well as the Shintoa Corporation of Japan.