EU TRADE AGREEMENT CREATES HEALTHY TAILWIND FOR JAPAN'S ONE GROUP
It´s hard to imagine any better news for ONE, the new Japanese liner giant, than the new trade agreement that recently was signed between Japan and the EU. During times filled of rhetoric trade protectionism the two parties mustered an impressive agreement that could annually increase the EU export by 34% and Japan´s by 29%! Whilst of course impossible to gauge the ratio between services and products as well as modal split this is a much-welcomed sign of additional trade volume that certainly will manifest itself also in containers.
Following the announcement that the three Japanese lines would merge into ONE speculations have also been intense how much cargo loss this would result in from its present Japanese customers since Japanese manufacturers traditionally spread their cargo among several lines and that a concentration inevitably would result in locally lost market shares. With the cake now growing bigger, and potentially dramatically so, there is reason to believe that ONE will be a main beneficiary of the new trade deal. What’s even better is that majority of eastbound cargoes, now with best revenue potential, may end up in Japan with a bit of premium whilst the westbound cargoes to an extend still originate from Japanese manufacturing plants in China. A country fundamentally critical to any Shipping Company but where Japanese Lines often faced commercial difficulties to overcome historical tensions of different kinds. This is perhaps ONE´s single most delicate challenge when it formally kicks off next April.
Another perspective of the welcomed trade deal is the global organisational structure of ONE gradually taking shape. It includes everything from ships deployment planning to location of offices and number of staffs and here the announced trade deal comes with excellent timing. The European trade deal is in stark contrast to similar talks in the Transpacific- and Atlantic-trades which indicate a much gloomier picture. For the current European staff members of the three Japanese lines, many waiting for organisational verdict, you may say it´s ONE – 0 to Team Europe. Not bad for a game not yet even started!
Source: Lars Green
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