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Yang Ming chairman predicts mid-year improvement for container volumes

Yang Ming Marine Transport’s chairman, Bronson Hsieh, believes that the current decline in worldwide container volumes is temporary, predicting a bottoming out in April or May 2020.

Hsieh, who has temporarily filled the Taiwanese liner operator’s general manager role following a reshuffle of the senior management, was speaking at the company’s annual press briefing.

He said: “Container volumes are expected to be higher in April or May, and liner operators should calculate their slot space by then.”

Alphaliner forecasts that this year, the supply of container ships will grow by 3.5%, while demand for container shipping would grow by 2.2%. However, Hsieh said that fuel costs and the COVID-19 outbreak could affect these projections.

He said, “Last year, the global scrubber installation rate was 12%. This year, it’s 19%, meaning that more ship owners want to install scrubbers. When low-sulphur fuel oil prices are higher than for high-sulphur fuel oil, more owners will install scrubbers.

“Many scrubber installations are being done by Chinese shipyards, where operations have slowed during the COVID-19 outbreak. Installations usually take 45 days to complete but now, it takes 80 days.”

Based on this, Hsieh said that Alphaliner’s supply growth projection would come down.

Twenty of Yang Ming’s ships are awaiting scrubber installations.

He also introduced the new management team. Yang Ming’s former finance chief Dannis Lee has been transferred to Singapore and his role was taken by He Hsiu-chi, who was the company’s public relations manager. The company’s former chief strategy officer, Pai Kun-rong, has been transferred to Greece, and has been succeeded by Tu Shu-chin, formerly Yang Ming’s business director. Chang Shao-feng, formerly part of Yang Ming’s Europe team, has filled Tu’s shoes.

Hsieh said, “Although it’s a ‘new’ team, they are all old faces of Yang Ming. They are senior cadres who have served Yang Ming for more than 20 years.”

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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