HUAL North America Inc.

HUAL North America Inc.


Hual's part of the maritime industry, that of the ro-ro transportation of vehicles, is a segment that has stayed in the shadow of the larger container/liner trades, and has been able to avoid some of the vexing problems that have beset that area.

With a limited number of large customers (automakers) and clearly defined main trades, the industry has been able to do a good job forecasting cargo volumes and has not been plagued with severe overcapacity.

The years ahead, however, will continue to see changes in the customers and the way they do business, as well as changes in the trade routes that constitute a significant portion of the cargo movements.

As the automakers continue to consolidate, they will automatically become more global in nature. When such shippers go shopping for ocean carriage services it's natural for them to utilize their worldwide management resources, just as they will look to combine their widely sourced cargoes to demand lower rates with continually better service.

Carriers will have to change with them, using their own far-flung resources in close touch with each other and local markets, yet working as a single unit, tailoring services to offer global service at the rates and service levels expected.

Traditional trade lanes are changing, with new markets in developing countries importing and exporting more vehicles. Continued growth can be expected in the "transplant factory" concept, with worldwide single sourcing of certain vehicle models, taking advantage of lower-cost manufacturing sites. Carriers must adapt to serve the new import and export markets without sacrificing service levels to the still large main markets. Consequently, greater appropriate cooperation among carriers, utilizing vessel-sharing arrangements, will be necessary if the best interests of both shippers and carriers are to be served.