DP World Southampton welcomes its largest vessel to date

The 23,820 TEU HMM Oslo, the biggest vessel ever to call at DP World Southampton, arrived at the port in the early hours of 26 June at the end of her maiden voyage to the UK. 

Belonging to a new series of Megamax-24 containerships, the eco-friendly HMM Oslo features a length of 399.9 metres and a width of 61.5 metres. She is longer than London’s The Shard, one of the highest buildings in Europe.
Last week her sister ship, the HMM Algeciras, docked at DP World’s sister port London Gateway in Essex.
These vessels are part of a series of twelve HMM Megamax-24 vessels ordered in 2018 from Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine and Engineering (DSME), and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI).
The capacities of the two variants are slightly different, with 23,964 TEU for the DSME ships (HMM Algeciras class), and 23,820 TEU for the Samsung ships (HMM Oslo class). The HMM Oslo was built by SHI and the HMM Algeciras by DSME — therefore, the Algeciras is slightly larger.
HMM Oslo arrived at Southampton from South Korea,having called at ports in China, Singapore and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
The boxship departed DP World Southampton on 27 June carrying British exports on her return journey home, via France, Germany, The Netherlands and Singapore.
“With two deep water ports, DP World in the UK can accommodate the world’s biggest ships both at DP World Southampton and at DP World London Gateway,” Ernst Schulze, UK Chief Executive Officer, DP World, commented.
“The HMM Oslo joins around 200 other container ships that have called at DP World Southampton during the lockdown since March, keeping essential food, fuel and medicines flowing to sustain the country.”
“Our ongoing investment and innovation mean that we are well-placed to support an economic recovery which is not just strong but also green and sustainable,” Schulze added.
“The deployment of these Megamax-24 vessels is a major milestone for HMM, and we are delighted that the first of these to call at Southampton, the HMM Oslo, has arrived this week (26 June),” Peter Livey, Managing Director (Gt. Britain) for HMM, said.
“These Megamax-24 ships are ground-breaking, not just in their size, but in world leading environmental performance too.  Their optimised hull design and highly energy-efficient engines make a significant leap forward in reducing CO2 and other emissions.  It’s all part of our long-term goal to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions across our container fleet by 2050.”  

Container volume at major Chinese port increased in mid-June 
The container volume of eight major Chinese ports increased 2.5% year-on-year during the period of mid-June.
The cargo throughput at major coastal ports increased 2.4%.
The export container volume increased 0.2%, among which the growth rate of Xiamen port, Guangzhou port, and Shenzhen’s Yantian port exceeded 10%. Domestic container volumes increased 9.3%, while the growth rate of Tianjin port, Shanghai port, Ningbo-Zhoushan port and Guangzhou port exceeded 10%.
Crude oil shipments at major coastal ports increased 16.4% year-on-year. The growth rate of Ningbo-Zhoushan port and Tianjin port exceeded 50%.
Metallic ore shipments at major ports increased 9.1% year-on-year while inventory volume declined 10.6%.
The resumption of port operations among Yangtze river ports is slower than coastal ports. In mid-June, the cargo throughput and container volume of three major Yangtze river ports, Nanjing, Wuhan and Chongqing declined 11.8% and 6.9% year-on-year.

EU trade pact expected to spur Vietnam’s economic recovery
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is expected to open the door wider for Vietnamese exports to the EU and help the Vietnamese economy regain its growth momentum following a difficult period due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Wider door
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EVFTA are two important new-generation free trade agreements to which Vietnam is a party, the former being inherited from the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the United States unilaterally withdrew from it. At the time, many economists believed that the implementation of the CPTPP would not be as effective as expected without the world’s largest economy. But in fact, the CPTPP has indeed brought about positive changes to Vietnam’s trade activities. Data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) showed that Vietnam’s exports to CPTPP economies in the first year of its implementation were estimated at nearly US$40 billion, up 7.2% from a year earlier. It is worth mentioning that exports to Canada and Mexico, with which Vietnam has yet to enter into a trade agreement, grew sharply by 29.9% and 27.6% respectively. It is apparent that Vietnam’s export revenue of US$260 billion and trade surplus of US$10 billion in 2019 saw a fair amount of contribution from the CPTPP. Similarly, if the EVFTA is soon fully implemented, it will create a great deal of exports opportunities since the EU is one of Vietnam’s most important trading partners with a population of 508 million and gross domestic product of US$18 trillion. Bilateral trade in 2019 was nearly US$57 billion, of which Vietnamese exports accounted for US$42 billion. But such a figure, according to the MOIT’s Department of Export and Import, remains modest given the fact that the EU is the world’s second largest import market with an annual value of US$2,338 billion. Vietnam’s exports to the EU account for just 2% of this market as only 42% of Vietnam’s shipments to the region are enjoying zero tariffs under the Generalised System of Preferences. For years, Vietnamese enterprises have been struggling to establish a firm foothold in the EU market due to strong competition from other countries, especially China, as the price of Vietnamese products are usually 10-20% higher than theirs. As such, with the EVFTA’s strong commitments to market liberalisation, there is now a greater opportunity for Vietnam to increase its exports, especially garments, footwear, farming and timber products. With the coronavirus outbreak affecting Vietnam and the global economy, economists have projected that Vietnam is unlikely to meet its growth target for 2020. Against this background, the EVFTA is expected to play a significant role in compensating losses incurred due to the economic slowdown. For enterprises, the pact will give them the opportunity to diversify their markets and regain a growth pattern after the epidemic.
Capitalising on opportunity
Tran Van Tac, director of Tuan Viet Footwear Company, has been anticipating the EVFTA for a long time as his firm’s exports are mainly to the US and EU. As the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain, he now hopes for brighter prospects for footwear exports with the implementation of the EVFTA as well as the containment of the coronavirus. The company is exporting its products to 50 countries, mainly Italy, therefore this is an opportunity to expand its market share and increase its competitiveness. Tuan Viet Footwear has informed its EU partners of the upcoming full ratification and implementation of the trade deal in order to prepare new orders in the future. Tac stated that his European partners are also looking forward to the Vietnamese National Assembly’s ratification of the agreement so that Vietnamese footwear products imported into the EU will be more competitive. Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc compares the EVFTA to an expressway for Vietnam to speed up its integration with the EU, helping to realise ambitions of economic breakthrough in the post-coronavirus recovery period. He stated that opening such an expressway is just the beginning and much needs to be done so that the “economic caravan” can move smoothly and effectively. The government needs to formulate various laws, decrees and circulars to act as approach roads so that enterprises can gain access to the expressway. In order for the EVFTA to be truly effective, it is necessary for the government to fine-tune institutions, upgrade infrastructure and enhance the quality of human resources. For enterprises, they need to learn about the opportunities and challenges brought about by this trade pact and make investments to restructure their sources of supply and the production chain in order to meet the pact’s standards. Enterprises may also have to ensure a higher level of compliance in order to meet stricter requirements on labour and environmental protection. The EVFTA merely opens a more favorable trading route but will not automatically bring success to enterprises failing to compete.  

Vietnam: Half-year trade surplus hits US$4 billion despite COVID-19

Vietnam has recorded a trade surplus of US$4 billion during the first half of the year despite the complex nature of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic globally, with figures revealing the trend is increasingly true among the country’s leading trade partners, according to the General Statistics Office.
Throughout the six-month period, the country’s export turnover totaled US$121.21 billion, an annual decrease of 1.1%. Of the figure, the foreign invested sector raked in US$79.83 billion, representing a decline of 6.7% and accounting for 65.9% of the country’s overall export turnover.
Elsewhere, the domestic economic sector earned a total of US$41.38 billion in export revenue, marking an increase of 11.7% and accounting for 34.1% of the total export value.
The six-month import value of commodities fell by 3% to US$117.17 billion in comparison with the same period last year, of which a total of 22 imported items reached over US$1 billion each, making up 81.2% of the total import turnover.
Most notably, June saw the country enjoy a trade surplus of US$500 million alone, with the domestic economic sector recording a trade deficit of US$10.2 billion, while the foreign-invested sector experienced a trade surplus of US$14.2 billion during the first half of the year.
Experts say the positive trade surplus is expected to help improve the national payment balance, contributing to increasing foreign exchange reserves and stabilizing the VND/USD exchange rate. It will also help accelerate economic growth through stimulating market consumption.

 (Source: The Maritime Executive, VNCustomsNews, Seatrade Maritime)