Transport updates

Certainly one of Asia’s greatest delivery corporations is dealing with the specter of imminent employee strikes, risking additional disruption to international provide chains which might be already battling surging prices and shortages of containers and pc chips.

South Korea-based HMM will maintain talks on Wednesday afternoon with the corporate’s labour union about elevating wages after sailors and dockworkers voted in favour of a strike final month, demanding sharp pay rises because the group’s income soared.

Analysts mentioned a strike would probably trigger further disruption to international tech and auto provide chains, which have been strained by materials and elements shortages in addition to bottlenecks at ports due to coronavirus-related restrictions and staffing shortfalls.

“If they really go on strike, it’ll create knock-on results on worldwide delivery,” mentioned Uhm Kyung-ah, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities.

HMM’s administration has proposed an 8 per cent pay improve and a bonus of six months’ wage, however the union refused the provide.

A spokesperson for HMM mentioned that staff have been “demanding the corporate normalise their pay whereas the corporate needs to regularly improve the pay stage”, conceding that wages had not elevated up to now eight years.

HMM believed the probabilities of a strike have been low and administration hoped it might attain an settlement with the union on Wednesday “to keep away from turmoil in ocean delivery”.

Provide chains stay weak to even small disruptions. Closures at Chinese ports this yr hit worldwide commerce, with delivery gridlock set to delay provide chain tumult into subsequent yr.

HMM estimated {that a} three-week strike would end in about $580m of working losses for the corporate and different shippers with which it has fashioned alliances.

World shortages of uncooked supplies and freight capability have additionally led to weaker industrial exercise in South Korea and a few of its buying and selling companions.

South Korea’s manufacturing unit exercise progress slowed in August for the primary time in a yr as demand for essential exports reminiscent of semiconductors rose at a slower tempo because the extremely infectious Delta coronavirus variant unfold around the globe.

The nation’s seasonally adjusted buying managers’ index fell from 53.0 in July to 51.2 in August, or simply above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction, based on IHS Markit.

Though South Korean producers anticipate the availability chain state of affairs to enhance as soon as the pandemic recedes, Asian exporters are racing to secure shipping capacity as logistics teams grapple with container shortages and an absence of berths at ports.

Container delivery teams are having fun with unprecedented income as surging demand for items prompted larger freight charges from the second half of final yr.

HMM reported a file working revenue of Won2.4tn ($2.1bn) within the first half, in contrast with Won136.7bn a yr earlier. Its revenues nearly doubled to Won5.3tn in the identical interval. 

Commerce Secrets and techniques

The FT has revamped Commerce Secrets and techniques, its must-read day by day briefing on the altering face of worldwide commerce and globalisation.

Sign up here to know which nations, corporations and applied sciences are shaping the brand new international economic system.