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Geopolitical instability and oversupplied market obstructing a positive outlook says HMM

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The outlook for global shipping in 2020 may not be positive on the back of geopolitical instability and the persistence of an oversupplied market situation, according to South Korean shipowner Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM).

“This year appears to be another year of considerable uncertainty,” commented Bae Jae-hoon, president and ceo of HMM.

“From the US-China trade dispute to Brexit, uncertainties in the global trade environment have directly affected the world trade volume. The growth rate of shipping capacity is expected to increase as well,” Bae said, adding that all of these factors are “obstructing a positive outlook.”

“It is unpredictable whether the business environment approaching us will be a tailwind or headwind, nor can we control it as we wish,” he said.

Bae also noted that the scale of the environmental regulations the industry is facing is “unprecedented.”

From 1 January 2020, the IMO 2020 regulation has entered into force, requiring all ocean-going vessels to burn bunkers with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%, down from the previous cap of 3.5%.

“Carbon neutrality also becomes a definitive issue of our time,” Bae said.

In response to the environmental requirements, Bae said HMM is looking at setting up an enterprise-wide R&D structure to cope with the environmental regulation paradigm change, mainly via the use of eco-friendly fuel and energy-efficient technology in ship design.

“In specific, we should be fully committed to digital transformation to increase operational efficiency and service quality,” he said.

HMM will commence a new cooperation with THE Alliance starting April this year, and its 24,000-teu containership will be delivered from the second quarter and deployed in the Far East-North Europe trade.

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