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Lazada E-logistics to open automatic sorting centre in Hanoi
Friday, 15 June 2018 02:07

Lazada E-logistics Vietnam will officially open its automatic sorting centre in Hanoi on June 12 in a move to achieve sustainable growth and meet the boom in e-commerce.

The centre, which uses robots to sort parcels, is the second of Lazada E-logistics Vietnam, following the first in Ho Chi Minh City. The new facility has a capacity of tens of thousands of parcels per hour.

The move is part of Lazada E-logistics Vietnam's strategy towards going green and sustainable by investing in environmentally friendly vehicles and technology.

"We operate dozens of e-bicycles for delivery services and are planning to increase the number of this kind of vehicle to several hundreds by the end of 2018. We are studying investment in electrically-run three-and four-wheeler vehicles for distribution in the future," said Vu Duc Thinh, country manager of Lazada E-logistics Vietnam.

The green path is thus set, but developing it remains a big challenge, as three-wheeler vehicles are banned in Vietnam.

"We need support and detailed guidelines from government agencies to encourage Lazada E-logistics and others to widely develop electrically-run three- and four-wheeler vehicles in Vietnam in the future," he added.

Lazada E-logistics and Lazada Group have recently sprouted wings to fly high, as they have received an additional investment of $2 billion from Chinese tech giant Alibaba, thus increasing its total investment in the firms to $4 billion to date.

Vinalines on firmer ground for IPO and strategic stake sale
Wednesday, 13 June 2018 02:13

Positive responses from ministries on its equitisation plan will accelerate Vinalines' IPO and place it in a better position to look for strategic foreign investors, adding to its considerable business results and influence in the shipping industry.

MoF has pointed out good assessments for most major contents in the equitisation plan of Vinalines. This is one of four ministries to be consulted on the plan before it can be submitted to the prime minister.

In Document No.5824/BTC-TCDN, Deputy Minister of Finance Tran Van Hieu assessed that the VND14 trillion ($618.8 million) charter capital after equitisation is higher than the book value of VND11.946 trillion ($526.3 million).

Thus, the corporation should issue additional shares to raise charter capital by VND2.1 trillion ($92.5 million). After equitisation, state capital in Vinalines will remain at 65 per cent, equivalent to 913 million shares. From the remaining 35 per cent 208 million shares (14.8 per cent) will be sold to strategic investors, 2.3 million shares (0.16 per cent) at a preferential price to employees, and 0.04 per cent to the trade union.

Additionally, Vinalines will auction 281 million shares (20 per cent of the charter capital) at the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) at the initial price of VND10,000. This volume is four times higher than the plan set forth in December 2017, decreasing the share volume offered to strategic investors by 15.2 per cent.

Tran Tuan Hai, head of Vinalines’ development strategy and communications division, said: “All four ministries have basically finished their assessment of Vinalines’ equitisation plan, agreeing that it is possible and complies with current regulations and the directions of the prime minister.”

If the prime minister approves the plan in June, Vinalines will conduct its IPO in August and will officially start operating as a joint stock company in October. The corporation intends to hire Saigon Securities INC (SSI) for IPO consultancy.

As of December 31, 2017, Vinalines owned ten subsidiaries in shipping, with the total investment value of VND1.52 trillion ($67 million). The corporation holds 91 vessels with the total capacity of 1.85 million DWT. Vinalines also owns 15 subsidiaries in seaport exploitation, with the total investment of VND6.86 trillion ($302.25 million).

Although this sector is still under depression, Vinalines holds stakes in high-profit companies in seaport, shipping, and maritime services. The business results of these subsidiaries are included in Vinalines’ consolidated financial statement.

The prime minister also allowed Vinalines to keep at least 65 per cent of the charter capital in joint stock companies like Port of Haiphong, Saigon Port, and Danang Port. Vinalines will maintain its share in logistics companies and divest as much as possible from shipping companies.

“The short- and long-term potential of the seaport sector will make the parent company’s equitisation more attractive,” confirmed Nguyen Canh Tinh, Vinalines’ acting general director.

Hapag-Lloyd introduces US$1/TEU EBS, sets $55/TEU peak season surcharge
Monday, 11 June 2018 01:50

GERMAN shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd is to impose a US$1 per TEU emergency bunker surcharge (EBS) on the Asia-North Europe and Asia-Mediterranean trades from July 1, the latest carrier to announce measures to address the rising oil price.

The carrier's surcharge is well below the $55 to $60 per TEU fuel surcharge being levied by Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) and CMA CGM.

In a customer advisory, the Hamburg-based shipping line said the incremental $1 per TEU surcharge will be applied to inbound and outbound containers to and from Asia and Oceania.

However, Hapag-Lloyd surprised the market with a peak season surcharge of $55 per TEU that the ocean carrier said will be levied from today (June 1) on all trades out of China. The Asia-Europe peak season doesn't normally begin until July.

The Hapag-Lloyd bunker surcharge was well under the levels that will be charged by the other carriers, something questioned by Lars Jensen, CEO and partner of Sea Intelligence Consulting.

"Interestingly, Hapag-Lloyd introduced an EBS of $1 per TEU on some major trades. For Maersk Line, the corresponding charge is $60 per TEU and for CMA CGM it is $55 per TEU. MSC has not published an official number. Quite a diverse take on the impact of the increasing oil prices," he said.

The carrier surcharges have been met with strong disapproval by beneficial cargo owners (BCOs). One of the more outspoken shippers has been Bjorn Vang Jensen, vice president of global logistics at Electrolux.

"I'd love to see carriers' reaction if we wrote them all a mass mail along the lines of, 'due to the recent increases in steel prices, we hereby arbitrarily decrease the freight rates by 20 per cent, effective immediately and notwithstanding any other agreements'," he wrote in a LinkedIn post. "Something tells me our cargo would be spending a lot of time on the wharf at the port of origin."

Mr Jensen said the reality was that carriers needed to have their costs covered and running loss-making services was not in the long-term interests of shippers, as seen in the Hanjin bankruptcy, reports IHS Media.

"But it seems evident that years of rate erosion and quite fierce price competition have led to a point where carriers appear not to believe in their own market power in terms of raising the actual freight rates, but need to point to a plethora of surcharges to get properly compensated," he said.

"The EBS is merely an additional symptom of this, and that is likely why the logic behind the EBS seems to be somewhat lacking, because de facto the problem being addressed is not an exceptional increase in fuel price, it is the collapse of the BAF mechanism itself over the past years."

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