Recently the Vietnamese magazine Vietnam Investment Review published an interview with the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group’s CEO Nils Smedegaard Andersen. In the interview Mr. Smedegaard talks about Mærsk’s strong commitment to Vietnam’s growth and development of the country’s shipping industry. The A.P. Moller-Maersk Group is the world’s largest shipping company and one of Denmark’s biggest companies. Below, you can read the interview with Mr. Nils Smedegaard Andersen
What are Maersk’s current commitments in Vietnam and what does the future hold?
The A.P. Moller-Maersk Group has been operating in Vietnam for the past 20 years. Our operations include Maersk Line, the leading container liner in Vietnam, Damco – one of the largest export logistics providers locally and MCC Transport – one of the leading intra-Asia feeder network service providers in Southeast Asia and Cai Mep international terminal, which is the first deepwater container terminal to offer shipping lines access to the newly dredged Cai Mep terminal channel.
Vietnam is an exciting and fast-growing market with high growth potential. At present, we have seven business units, growing strongly and collectively employing over 1,200 workers. A total of 95 per cent of our workers are Vietnamese and we are committed to the continual training and development of our staff.
We have been contributing to the local community through school building and repair projects and disaster relief work. We want to maintain our leadership position in container-shipping and grow our business in Vietnam.
Vietnam is a focus market due to its role as a manufacturing and sourcing base. At present, we are one of the largest international logistics providers in Vietnam with a leading market position in supply chain management and the largest shipping line in the country.
We are ready to continue offering job opportunities and bring foreign expertise and know-how to Vietnam. At present, we are considering additional investment opportunities s in ports and domestic feeders.
How does Maersk view Vietnam’s growth potential?
We see strong potential in Vietnam, with the number of middle-income consumers booming, also because of our strong history and present excellent position in the country. Vietnam’s government is supportive and committed to driving economic growth. It is open with businesses while continuously streamlining legal regulations and administrative procedures. We are happy to see progress and a good dialogue with the business community, and I stress that it is critical that the progress in the above fields continues. Vietnam is also an increasingly important market for our intra-Asia business. We had 38 per cent year-on-year export volume growth for MCC Transport in 2010.
This month, we have launched a new direct service from Vietnam to Taiwan. Last year, we launched two direct services from Vietnam to China, Japan and Korea. In the future, we will also seek more direct services between Vietnam and other ports in the Southeast Asia.
What is your take on the Vietnamese government’s development of its sea-oriented and sea-based economy?
Vietnam has good access to major shipping routes and with exports making up about 75 per cent of Vietnam’s GDP at present further development of infrastructure is crucial.
I think it is most important that the government ensures it is easy to do import and export in the country. The shipping industry will benefit from the country’s growth, more open trade and easy administration such as low port dues. In particular, we believe it is important to create a few large ports with sufficient terminal length rather than having many small terminals, as it is simple not efficient for the ports and for the shipping lines. Such efforts will also help improve Vietnam’s global competitiveness and woo more investors. However, there is a need for more skilled workers. It is important to look into improving the quality of education to develop a higher qualified labour force.
How can Maersk support Vietnam’s shipping industry?
Maersk Line can contribute to international trade, because it is the leading container liner in Vietnam. We can create opportunities for Vietnamese exporters as we have the broadest global coverage.
Damco provides competitive integrated logistics solutions to local and international customers operating in Vietnam. It will open a new integrated logistics centre this month. Strategically located to connect with Cai Mep international terminal and Cat Lai port, the centre will support export growth for its customers. Besides, Damco will also look at offering trucking solutions connecting Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Furthermore, APM Terminals’ investment in Cai Mep international terminal provides essential port infrastructure to facilitate the country’s trade growth.