Evergreen's Chairman Addresses Industry Challenges
equipped to maintain its leadership position in the global trade arena well into the new Millennium, according to Evergreen Group Chairman Yungfa Chang.
Evergreen's agenda includes further enhancing its service standards with new vessels, developing new services that encompass an expanded global network and enlarging economies of scale, among other points. Dr. Chang delivered his thoughts during a rare public speech. Group Chairman Chang spoke at Evergreen's Global Agency Management Meeting in Taipei, which drew some 175 people from 54 countries.
He noted as the challenges: • The growth (and competition) in the number of post-Panamax vessels: Chang said in 1996 there were 38 post-Panamax vessels afloat. By the year 2000 there willbe 107. • The future of alliances: all the reorganizing, it take great deal of effort to main smooth cooperation between members," he said. He also nc the combined services offer m sailings than independi Evergreen on certain routes. • The imbalance of export a imports: In noting the huge tra pattern swings, he noted tl impact of the Asian financial cris turmoil "has increased substai tially the empty repositionin costs. Evergreen's worldwide strat egy," he added, "is to meet thes challenges head-on with a long term plan.
According to Chang, the plan includes: • Build express and large-size vessels to enhance service standards: By 2001, Evergreen will have 13 U-class vessels gradually entering the fleet, bringing the express fleet to 38 vessels to provide minimum twice-weekly express service on the transpacific and Far East/Europe route. In addition, 2,500-3,000-TEU S-type ships will enter the fleet after the year 2001, to be used on the Far East/Africa/South America services. For Uniglory, 11 new A-type ships of 1,164 TEU capacity will be enhanced by another 10 P-type 1,618-TEU vessels. The P-types will be employed in the Persian Gulf service and the A-types will be used in intra-Asia services, according to the fleet arrangement plan.
• To develop new routes and markets: Group Chairman Chang noted Evergreen commenced service in the North America/ South America trade and also joined the New Australian South Asia Consortium service, placing one vessel into this Singapore/ Australia service.
• To strengthen freight rates and reduce costs: This strategy impacts every ship operator in the world, Dr. Chang said. "Current low freight rates have created a negative profit situation among most carriers. Hence, carriers must work together to increase freight rate levels." Acknowledging the fact this may be a difficult challenge, he said it is important for carriers to reduce costs, especially on port charges, inland transportation, repositioning of containers and other operational expenses