The China Post staff
Under a spring sky as hazy and ominous as the shipping industry’s prospects Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation (YML) yesterday launched two new ships at the China Shipbuilding Corporation yard in Kaohsiung. The M.V. Ming Bamboo and M.V. Ming Pine, container carriers with a loading capacity of 5,551 TEU (a TEU is a standard container), each took approximately one year to complete and will be put into service primarily on routes to Europe and the Middle East.
Each ship will employ a crew of 17, all from Taiwan, said a YML official.
Though both ships were launched yesterday only the Ming Bamboo was delivered to YML. According to the companies the Ming Pine will be officially delivered to YML in early April. According to T.H. Chen, chairman of YML, the two new ships will allow the Keelung-based shipping firm to continue to take a lead role in Taiwan’s export economy bringing goods to the international market. Launching of the two ships brings YML closer to finishing its seven-ship expansion scheduled for completion in 2002. Late last year the company took delivery of the 5,500 TEU M.V. Ming Orchid built by Hyundai Heavy Industry in South Korea. While the global shipping industry prospered in recent years due to a rise in imports by the United States as well strong recoveries in many key Asian economies recent bearish sentiment in world stock markets and worries of a U.S. slowdown have caused many analysts to downgrade their views on the industry.
Timothy Ross, a transportation analyst at UBS Warburg was quoted recently in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post as saying, “We have moderated the bullish stance towards the transportation sector we held last year.”
Ross cited shrinking cargo volumes, increased competition, and a rise in capacity as key factors adversely affecting the industry.