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  Industry News  


'K' Line to seek growth in Southeast Asia


‘K’ LINE president and CEO Jiro Asakura said today emerging markets in Southeast Asia offer promise, in contrast with stagnant OECD growth.


Speaking in his New Year’s message, Asakura alluded to his recent visit to Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Thailand. Japanese carmakers have been outsourcing production to Thailand because of its lower costs; Toyota Motor Thailand is expected to churn out 1M vehicles per year.


Asakura, whose group is Japan’s third-largest shipping company, explained: “I was able to feel Thailand’s dynamism as a growth market first hand.


Indonesia is also expected to experience further growth, and the Philippines is emerging as a driver of economic growth in Asia. The world has great expectations for other nations having high potential growth rates, such as Vietnam and Myanmar.


“As they go forward, I am confident that these markets will expand further,” he added. “In these regions, we aim to undertake new businesses that extend beyond the realm of our existing containership business.”


“The growth of firmly rooted regional businesses – through highly motivated measures by overseas-affiliated companies, including coastal shipping, automotive and motorcycle land transport, logistics and port management businesses – is crucial” to ‘K’ Line’s development, he affirmed.


The opening up of Myanmar’s economy after decades of military rule has spawned new intra-Asia box routes, while the relocation of manufacturing facilities from China to Vietnam has had similar results, pointed out Asakura, who added that Thailand’s growth as a vehicle production centre has spurred ‘K’ Line to work with NYK Line to operate a transshipment vehicle hub in Singapore.


Asakura also emphasised shipping’s gradual recovery, after years of oversupply, adding: “Major players in the container ship sector are shifting their focus from market share to profitability.

“Shipping companies, which have chosen to independently run their operations in the past are now looking to participate in alliances,” he noted. “Accordingly, market discipline began to work, and freight rates have now somehow begun to be able to stand up against market undulation.


“In the drybulk market, imports to China, which boasts the highest intake of iron ore imports, increased approximately 50M tonnes compared with the previous year. However, supply pressure suppressed the market.”


Asakura predicted: “Given that the completion of Capesize bulk carriers in 2013 are likely to be half the level in 2012, we believe there are budding signs that a market bottom is near.


“In 2013, the delivery of a large volume of newbuildings, which has squeezed conditions in the marine transport market, will turn a corner. The supply pressure that has vexed the industry thus far should ease.”


Narrowing the existing supply-demand gap would take time, “but we will undoubtedly be able to smoothly navigate after passing through such rough seas”, he said.

Date:2013/1/14 10:24:29 Hits:21