Tianjin: At the end of 2011, mighty Cosco Group, hemorrhaging red ink like a horror movie stunt double, established Cosco Bulk Shipping Group through the integration of all its bulk resources in a bid to staunch losses. The amalgamation saw the coming together of Cosco Bulk Carrier, Cosco (Hong Kong) Shipping and Cosco Qingdao, forming the world’s largest bulker fleet consisting of 230 self-owned bulkers with a total capacity of 18m dwt. It also controls over 400 vessels with a total capacity exceeding 35m dwt.
Xu Zunwu was appointed general manager and vice chairman of the bulk shipping giant.
After his graduation from Shanghai Maritime University in the late 1970s, Xu joined Cosco Guangzhou in 1982, his 30-year-career in Cosco included becoming deputy general manager of Cosco Guangzhou, managing director of Cosco (Hong Kong) Shipping, and managing director of Cosco Bulk Carrier.
Despite operating among the most diverse range of ships in its fleet, Xu says bulk carriers remain the most important to Cosco.
“The shipping market is still in the doldrums,” Xu admits. There are an increasing number of non-traditional shipowners ordering ships, he says, and some large cargo owners monopolising the spot market. “From a long term view, the international dry bulk market is still in a periodic downturn, however, China remains the main driving force of the global dry bulk market, I think the market outlook is cautiously optimistic,” he tells Maritime CEO.
To deal with the market downturn, Cosco Bulk Shipping has been implementing a new fleet strategy which is “changing from owning vessels to controlling vessels”, according to Xu. Cosco Bulk Shipping has become very active on the charter market.
Xu says cargo owners should strengthen their collaboration with the shipping companies to establish efficient services and benefit each other. “Currently, lots of cargo owners are taking advantage of the low shipbuilding prices to establish their own fleets or expand their shipping capacity,” he relates, adding: “I think this is a dangerous situation. If you look back, owned fleets by cargo owners usually end in failure, so a longer term vision is needed now to establish long and stable relations between shipping companies and cargo owners.” [06/06/13]