Thu, Feb 02, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Shipping industry looks to neighboring countries for growth

Staff Writer, with CNA

In the wake of the eurozone debt crisis and faltering demand from the US, the shipping industry is eyeing Chinese and Southeast Asian markets, Bronson Hsieh (謝志堅), vice chairman of Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運), the nation’s largest shipper, said on Tuesday.

Because Southeast Asia has a higher trading volume with China following the latter’s admission into ASEAN Plus One and Taiwan is set to enjoy 95 percent tariff reductions with China, short-haul shipping would be a core business this year, Hsieh told members of the National Association of Chinese Shipowners (NACS).

Faltering global demand, an oversupply of cargo vessels and the potential disruption to oil supplies from Iran all contribute to a bleak outlook for the shipping industry this year, he said.

This year would not be a good year for long-haul shippers, Hsieh said, citing a growth rate of 8.3 percent in the global container fleet this year.

As for the dry bulk freight market, shipping capacity is set to grow by 14.9 percent this year, far outpacing the estimated increase in demand of 4.5 percent, Hsieh said.

He also urged the government to loosen restrictions on direct transportation to and from China and to increase the number of items on the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) early harvest list.

NACS also plans to seek membership of the International Maritime Organization, a specialized UN agency, to increase industry competitiveness, Hsieh added, calling for the assistance of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時), who was present at the meeting, said the ministry would put its full weight behind the bid.

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