Monthly Archives: May 2015

Three keywords from interview with Jae-Bong Ryu, Team Manager of Container Sales & Marketing Team: Customer-optimization, New market Africa, Restructuring market

Three keywords from interview with Jae-Bong Ryu, Team Manager of Container Sales & Marketing Team: Customer-optimization, New market Africa, Restructuring market

 
1.What are the main operations for Container Business Unit?

Container Business Unit (CBU) works in the production, sales, creation, and operation for container shipping companies of OPUS Container, an IT solution that covers the full gamut of its operation, and also provides related consulting.

Container Terminal in Hamburg

Our unit was created in 2015, with container business spun off from Maritime Operation. Before the splitting, CBU worked in Maritime Shipping Division and was in charge of developing, delivering, and servicing IT solutions that were going to be used by container shipping companies and bulk shipping companies. Now, the unit is operating separately in order to strengthen services for container shipping companies and increase customer satisfaction.
 

2. What are the characteristics of the market that CBU is handling?

The container shipping market we are dealing with characteristically has 100 or so major container shipping companies, thus registering a number that is relatively not large when compared to other industries. While there are some 150 shipping companies in the world, top 100 companies account for a 96% market share. And the companies’ fleet totals 18 million TEU with 5,000 ships. Notably, the larger shipping companies take up a very large market share, with top 5 companies registering a 50% market share with 2,000 ships totaling 9 million TEU and top 20 companies taking up an 86% market share with 3,500 ships totaling 16.6 million TEU.
 

3. What business goals does CBU have?

13100 TEU Class HANJIN SOOHO

Containership

CBU has created OPUS Container for Hanjin Shipping, Heung-A Shipping, and Kambara Kisen and is currently working on the project for creating a system for a major global shipping company. Recently, we embarked on a project for some other shipping company.

Coming into this year, we have successfully completed the creation of systems for two shipping companies and we are working hard to increase our market share by creating our new customers out of other shipping companies.

We aim to capture a 20% market share based on the bottoms of the shipping companies that use OPUS Container in five years and a 50% market share in ten years.
 

4. Special strategy or methodology for achieving the goals?

One of our major business strategies is the success of our customer companies.

As I said earlier, in the container shipping market with its small number of players, the word of mouth spreads pretty fast. Therefore, we are going to improve the market recognition of OPUS Container by satisfying the customers whose systems are completed through successfully carrying out their on-going installation and continued maintenance.

For example, we successfully completed the installation of OPUS Container for a shipping company last year. Now, as the project has resulted in great customer satisfaction, we are taking up the system maintenance down the road. And as the successful project with the customer created wide reverberations in the customer’s country, the recognition and reliability of OPUS Container has significantly improved in the country.

Container team

Container Product Delivery Team

 

CBU places priority on another goal: upgrading the efficiency of shipping alliances.

Current shipping alliances include 2M, Ocean 3, CKYHE, and G6, which account for 80% of the entire market. The hard core of the solidarity for those alliances must be communication and cost efficiency ensured by joint operation of ships. To upgrade their efficiency, we will provide an operating system that is going to be shared in an alliance. The method is to work on OPUS Container to select modules required for operational alliance and ensure that shipping companies share them as members of an alliance. If this is possible, we expect, much of the erstwhile redundancy and operational inefficiency involving a shipping alliance will be reduced.
 

5. What is the advantage of CyberLogitec’s container operating systems?

OPUS Container condenses 30 years’ well-organized know-how for creating and operating container operating system. OPUS Container does not merely function as a system, but creates synergy from the organization, process, and manpower designed to develop and operate the system. Considerable budget and workforce invested for several years came up with OPUS Container as it is. And the company has a road map already lined up for its continuous evolution.

The greatest strength with respect to its specific function is its being a single unified system. If a system is dispersed to different regions as with most current shipping companies, applications will be supplied from a single location to different regions, thus generating the need for system integration. Unless the system is integrated, data must travel from the servers at international branches to the server in the country where the head office is located, thus generating great quantities of transactions in manpower, equipment, and data. OPUS Container has successfully solved the problem of data interface by amassing data to a single server from several servers. Also, in case synchronization doesn’t work well or creates time differences, data may not match among different servers. OPUS Container provides solutions to these issues.


 

6. What are major issues of the container shipping market?

6-1. Market restructuring: the influence that low yen and LA port strike exert on supply of ships

Just two or three years ago, in the global shipbuilding market, Korea came on top with Japan trailing and China coming in third. Recently, however, Japan has been enthroned again. Now, Korean shipping companies perceive greater justification for issuing orders to Japan. Japan’s comeback as the world’s top shipbuilder finds a significant factor in low yen among others. Thanks to low yen, Japan is building a new dock, which is increasing the world’s shipbuilding capacity. One whole year taken previously to deliver a completed ship has diminished to eight months or six months to complete, thus increasing the worldwide shipbuilding abilities. As LA port strike and others were effective in controlling ship supply, freight rate is decided between supply and demand. As speedier completion of ships seems to improve price elasticity of supply, it seems that it is now in fact out of the question to keep freight rate as high as it was.

la-port-strike

6-2. Three plans to reduce costs for the container shipping market

The biggest issue for the current container shipping market is the pressures for cost reduction. To reduce costs for shipping companies, the three plans can be considered as follows.

First, shipping companies can save depreciation cost by purchasing ships when ships are low-priced. Also, the companies need to save costs for fuel and transport. And while the latest drop in oil prices has positive influence on cost reduction, it can also have negative influence on sales, for the forced drop in bunker adjustment factor (BAF) decreases profits. Thus, keeping in mind that falling oil prices constitute a double-edged sword for shipping companies, one should consider both its upside and downside.

Second, we can reduce transport costs by providing users with low-priced transport methods from the booking stage with an optimized transport plan that is suggested to shippers through the replacement or upgrade of an operating system like OPUS Container.

Lastly, reduction of cost for system operation and maintenance. Since a saved portion of system operating cost is immediately reflected in current net profit, even a small reduction hugely improves profit compared to reduction in other costs. For instance, one of our customer companies has reduced its annual cost for system maintenance by half with the introduction of OPUS Container.
 

6-3. Africa emerging as a new export market

Looking ahead, Africa will deliver a lot of new markets. Africa presenting itself less as a buyer than as an exporter suggests that manufacturing is growing in the continent. Lately, a lot of Chinese companies are investing in Africa and relocating to the continent, to such a degree that those companies that previously considered their move to South Africa are now headed to the rest of Africa. It cannot be defined as a trend yet, but that’s what is happening at the moment.

However, as Africa suffers from shortage in infrastructure and ports, large vessels cannot operate in the region, which may present related issues. Operating small ships alone should incur higher cost per unit. While 10,000 TEU needs seven crew members, 2,000 TEU needs as many crew members, thus requiring the same fixed costs. To use an expression of the industry, the cost price per container goes up.

A Chinese port to which applied China Customs Advance Manifest regulation

 
7. A solution optimized for operating container ships

Container shipping companies are organizations that create value through movement in space and time. As such, container shipping companies must provide quality services for shippers to survive the fierce competition. OPUS Container is going to not only reduce operating cost for container shipping companies but also ensure effective data exchange among the companies with a view to satisfying their needs. With this service, we will increase efficiency from manufacturing to distribution and services by providing quality logistics data ultimately for all industries.
 

If you would like to ask any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

CyberLogitec Contact

Background for Spreading Terminal Automation and Its Expected Influence on Terminal Operating System

Background for Spreading Terminal Automation and Its Expected Influence on Terminal Operating System

Born in Europe with expensive labor for the purpose of improving profitability of terminals, automated terminals have since gained in vitality. Recently, their sphere of influence is gradually widening to include Asia, Middle East, and the Americas. While there is not much expectation of an improving shipping market, we may take a look at the background for the increased automation of terminals and look into forthcoming changes.

 
1.
Cause for spreading automation of terminals 1: increased terminal traffic

Container shipping companies are pushing for new strategies in order to secure operational efficiency in the face of an unstable market and rising oil prices. Two major strategies are the up-sizing of ships and the hub-and-spoke system. In step with the changed strategy of shipping companies, which are their customers, container terminals have in turn come to draw up their own strategy.

50 years of container ship growth

50 years of container ship growth

<Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE’s (AGCS) third annual Safety and Shipping Review 2015>

As shown in the figure above, container ships have steadily gotten bigger for last 50 years, and construction of 20,000-TEU ships is expected to realize sooner or later. Accordingly, having to accommodate such increasingly large container ships, container terminals have found it inevitable to implement changes in their berth operation such as terminal dredging and replacement with large cranes. Especially as the up-sizing ships cause the concentration of workloads on different quay cranes inside a terminal and thereby make it important to distribute work and secure productivity up to the yard, interest in terminal automation has grown naturally.

Meanwhile, the expanded operation of the hub-and-spoke system by shipping companies also contributes to the spread of terminal automation. While sharply reducing the number of ports of call on the existing routes for large ships, global shipping companies want to include on their routes only the main terminals that serve as hubs for different regions or sectors. Therefore, terminals have to equip themselves with greater competitiveness compared to their neighboring terminals in order to be chosen as hub terminals that could host large ships. As one of the strengths, they are presenting the reduction of on-board work through terminal automation.

 
2. Cause for spreading automation of terminals 2: falling prices of IT equipment and technological maturity

The lowering cost for realizing latest technology in a company’s business, which is enabled by the accelerating development of IT, serves as a factor that speeds up terminal automation. In general, many of the newly built automated terminals realize automation by securing high-priced automation equipment such as unmanned cranes and unmanned transport equipment. However, even without replacement with new equipment and with improvement of hand-held devices, sensors, and network alone, a terminal can be run like an automated terminal. Thus, cheaper IT equipment has made even ordinary manually operated terminals give a realistic consideration to the realization of an automation system.

The trend is further accelerated by the increasing maturity for existing core technologies such as RFID, GPS, DGPS/INS, OCR, and CCTV, which are used to identify the location of equipment and cargoes and related operations in the terminal, and exciting initiatives for tapping into the new technologies such as IoT, cloud, and big data.


3. Paradigm shift of terminal management system

What kind of influence will the terminal automation, which is spreading for such reasons, exercise on terminal management? While the erstwhile terminal management system has several different systems running in sync with TOS at the center, the axis will move to automation down the road. In other words, in the existing TOS-centered terminal management system, basic data is manually entered beforehand, which is saved into the database and used for terminal operation. On the other hand, an automation-focused operation of terminal management system uses real-time operation data in the terminal as basic data for terminal operation, and its operational results are fed into the planning and running operations.

Automated Container Terminal

Automated Container Terminal

With such evolution of terminal automation technology, a considerable portion of tasks except planning, so far conducted in terminals, will shift their operation to automation-focused mode. That is, as accumulation and utilization of real-time terminal data become possible through automation, the influence of TOS dwindles while that of automation solution increases on terminals.

In this light, we forecast an increase in solutions and related suppliers that can supplement or replace the functions of TOS. Now, not only the existing companies possessing the core technologies for automation such as Identec, Wherenet, and Certus, but also TOS suppliers such as CyberLogitec and Navis will register an increasing tendency to expand the scope of automation. Besides, we expect that optimization and simulation companies and equipment controller companies will actively participate in terminal automation through cooperation and partnership among companies.

 

 

If you have any questions about productivity or automation of container terminals, please contact us.

CyberLogitec Contact

There was ceremony for foundation day at CyberLogitec.

On 22nd of May, there was ceremony for foundation day at CyberLogitec.

Some of CyberLogiteckers were awarded for several titles such as Hall of Fame, CyberLogitec Man, and so on.

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

 

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

 

After that, CyberLogitec’s band, Nelipot gave out awesome performance playing five songs. It was magical time for everyone.

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

 

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

Foundation day of CyberLogitec

The life of Innovation: Interview with Won-Ki Kim, Head of Container Business Unit(CBU)

Interview with Won-Ki Kim, Head of Container Business Unit(CBU)

 

1. Please give us a brief introduction about yourself.

I am Won-Ki Kim, Head in charge of Container Business Unit. I have worked for CyberLogitec for about seven years, and before I joined the company, I had worked for eighteen years for Hanjin Shipping. So far, I have experienced various areas of the shipping industry such as purchase, marketing, duty as international branch manager, sea route planning, sharing tonnage through liner alliances, and management planning. In 2005, leading SEM (strategic enterprise management) for Hanjin Shipping’s PI (process innovation), I came to know the score about company management and planning task. After we finished the project, I was able to put my experience to use when I came to serve as Management Administration Team Manager.

After I moved to CyberLogitec, I came to work as International Marketing Team Manager, delivering IT solutions to the global market. Afterwards, I served as Marketing Planning Team Manager and head of Maritime Business Unit before I was appointed Head of Container Business Unit, thus working in the field and piling up experience as a leader. When I first took up the duty of International Marketing Team Manager, I focused on delivering to North America and Spain terminal operating systems such as OPUS Terminal. Since then, leading the container solution marketing, I have built a customer network through updating the list of container shipping companies and analyzing them. In the early days of our container solution marketing, we had practically no contact points with liners and had only a modicum of information on the market. Therefore, we first updated the list for eighteen target accounts, and by meting one after another of them, we have built our business network.

 

2.  What is your memorable project or work experience?

I remember and cherish all the projects in which I participated directly or indirectly. Of them all, I particularly remember leading the user side in the SEM for Hanjin Shipping’s PI project. Previously, I had experienced small-scale IT projects such as the application of tonnage tax, but the PI project was an opportunity to broaden my experience through small and large things.

As a manager working for Hanjin Shipping, I was appointed manager for a marketing branch newly created in Budapest, Hungary. While registering the marketing office and hiring employees, I built its foundation and then made it bigger. I have felt proud to watch the office get a series of new managers and upgrade to a branch as it is.

More cently, working as the owner of the project for creating container operating system and upgrading ERP system for Heung-A Shipping, I handled communication with customers. The project may be said to be significant as the first case in which I delivered solutions to a container liner outside Hanjin Shipping. The Heung-A Shipping project posed a lot of difficulties, as it was a broad one, comprising the full gamut of the company’s operations including ERP, par exemple. All systems have risks embedded in their introduction, but the project posed greater difficulty as it had to be delivered with a short period of 8 months. By overcoming such difficulty thanks to our staff’s had work and through cooperation with the customer, we successfully opened the system, which is stably used by the customer.

 

3. What does CBU do?

The container liners of the world are customers for CBU. We are providing major liners in different parts of the world including global container liners with a liner operating system that is designed to perform shipping business. There’s a company called Alpha Liner, specializing in container-related research. The company announces every day top 100 liners, and we have this ambitious goal of supplying to those top 100 liners their needed solutions.

A liner operating system is a very complex and exquisite system. Since a container liner regularly operates their container ships to specific ports as a bus company does, they must be supplied with ship schedule management and container management features. For example, those containers delivered from East Asia to the US more often than not return empty. To help a liner reduce costs by managing such superfluities, empty container repositioning is incorporated into the system.

Also, the solution also includes documentation that creates a bill of lading based on the booking received from a shipper as well as such features as pricing and marketing that are required in business marketing. Such a variety of functions are either provided as a single solution or in separate modules. For example, the IMDG module designed to manage dangerous cargo, which is a recent interest with liners, can be used by easily interfacing it with the existing system even when liners adopt IMDG module alone.

One single difficulty involved in solution sales is the long lead time in the business marketing. A liner operating system is high-priced, and takes long until a decision is reached because it exerts great influence on the liner’s framework. In this light, the role of CBU is to develop solutions that fit the needs of market and customers and supply an assortment of systems, and even implement them in the way that is customized to a specific liner’s business traits.

Our strength lies in a system that provides a global integrated view and our experience in having successfully created it for a good number of liners.

We are not the only operator in this area, and there are a lot of companies that supply liner operating systems. While some large global IT companies often create SI for different liners based with their general type of IT-based skills, we think that they are not so specialized in shipping industry. There are a number of small-sized shipping-related IT firms in different regions. While their systems can cover regional business to some extent, they lack many of the functions with regard to a global single view, which is required by global liners that do business across continents. In comparison, OPUS Container, the liner operating system from CyberLogitec, provides a single view for global liners, based on the knowledge in global shipping that it has accumulated for last 30 years.

Furthermore, recently through our brisk communication with Asia-based liners, we are supplying liner operating system to a number of liners, and as liners are greatly satisfied with their use of the system, an increasing number of liners now consider adopting OPUS Container.

Life of Innovation2

 

4. What are current issues in the market, and how do you think the market will proceed?

I see a growing demand from replacing liner operating systems with products from specialized solution suppliers. Many liners either use operating systems that their IT teams have developed or those that have been developed in the form of SI that taps into the basic technology from large IT companies. However, when we meet up with those liners and check on their currently used systems, they more often than not turn out with far poorer quality than we previous expected they would be. It’s either because the systems, acquired long ago, have grown outdated, or because their long-accumulated business knowledge hasn’t been sufficiently reflected in the systems.

Expected liners’ needs with regard to a system may be classified into two broad categories, depending on their size.

As far as the operating system for small-and-medium-sized liners is concerned, there will be a major improvement on such basic functions as booking, documentation, and equipment management.

On the other hand, since major global liners are sufficiently equipped with basic functions, they look more to efficiency upgrade through an operating system than to just an upgrade of the basic functions for their system. For example, those major liners whose size is growing want to place under a single view their global office management. Those liners that use different systems supplied by local providers are rarely equipped with systems that can cover all part of the world including Europe and North America. The systems that are used by different regional offices of a liner are not integrated by the main office, thus failing to allow efficient information sharing among regions, which leads to operational redundancy or inefficiency. As liners want to address such issues, we will see an increased demand for single-view feature such as Global Single Instance of OPUS Container.

Also, global liners are facing increasingly complex decision-making as they operate on an increasing number of sea routes and expand tonnage swap with alliances. As for sea routes for North America and Europe, now they need to manage several tens or hundreds of sea routes. Under such circumstances, when a booking clerk receives booking from a shipper, the person faces a number of choices as to which sea route is going to be used from an origin to a destination and how to handle transshipment, and the information in an individual person’s brain alone cannot achieve an optimized choice. Faced with such difficult decisions, liners are expected to more frequently use in their decision-making the analytic data provided by an operating system.

Innovation of Container Industry

Innovation of Container Industry

 

5. How are you responding to market issues?

To satisfy such needs for a system, OPUS Container provides an integrated Single View that realizes Single Instance for liners. For this purpose, the software not only integrates and standardizes various data generated from worldwide offices, but also structuralizes it in the way of reflecting tasks specific to different regions. In the past, software just presented a view of an entire route plan or transshipment sector, whereas the current CyberLogitec links system segmented data in a logical way to Single View by applying the concepts of navigation sector, load, and link.

To be specific, a booking clerk, who receives data from a shipper based on a product catalogue, does so in such a way that the person analyzes the current operation data and the past operation performance and cost to come up with sector-specific data before he or she recombines them. At this juncture, as the software enables it to figure out at a glance a lot of data including route data, route-specific cost, total transit time, and space and equipment available for different routes, it allows improvement of a clerk’s work and effective cost control.

Currently, we are drawing attention from major liners as we supply a liner operating system equipped with such features to liners in Asia such as Heung-A Shipping and Kambara Kisen, and we are taking advantage of that to expand our global network.

 

6. Looking ahead, what is the operational goal for CBU?

In airline industry, there’s a system provider called Amadeus, whose system is used by most airliners. CBU aims to become an Amadeus-like service provider for the shipping industry. As it has been developed and advanced to a considerable extent through its longtime experience, OPUS Container has reached a stage where it is not easy for any company to imitate it. By reflecting in the solution customer feedback for additional improvements, we will continue to upgrade it and promote it to liners.

Container business has continuously grown for last four years in a row, but what should be more important than its erstwhile achievement is to identify its future growth engine. As when riding a bike, if you do not keep pedaling away, you cannot move forward and must stop.

Also, we’d like to create a corporate culture that ensures a happy work place for individual employees and see that the company will thereby register continued growth. I think that happiness for individual employees of the unit is as important as the growth for the company. So, we are working to create a harmonious workplace where all employees feel happy at work.
 

If you would like to share more innovation in container business, do not hesitate to click the “Contact Us” button below.

CyberLogitec Contact

Flower industry in major developed countries – Japan (2/2)

Flower industry in major developed countries – Japan (2/2)

 

1. Distribution of Flowers and Trading in Wholesale Markets

Flowers imported to Japan arrive by air when they come in small quantities, but most of them come through Shimonoseki through the sea as it is cheaper and can handle large quantities. The flowers that are directly imported by airplane to an airport sitting close to the community of consumers are delivered in refrigerated trucks to such big cities as Tokyo and Osaka, and those cut flowers that arrive in container ships to Shimonoseki etc. are gathered in Narita to be distributed to all parts of Japan except some areas in Osaka and Kyushu. The reason is that the Japanese logistics characteristically reduces costs through collection and distribution at Narita as we learned in Hub and Spoke system. By major destination, direct listing through wholesale markets takes up about 70% and direct supply to mass merchandizers accounts for about 30%. Japan has 194 wholesale flower markets in the capital and the rest, handling 450 billion yen a year. Retailing expenses take up about 60% of consumer price. Ordinarily, cut flowers are distributed in this order: importers wholesale market, intermediate wholesaler, flower processor retail store, flower shop, Home Center, supermarket consumption by business, consumer. And cut flowers produced in Korea are distributed in this order: producer agricultural cooperative, flower depot wholesale market, intermediate wholesaler retail store, flower shop, Home Center, supermarket consumption by business, consumer.

For wholesale markets, cut flowers register significant price gap with different grades, while grading standard varies with countries. In Japan, cut flowers are basically classified into Best, Excellent, and Fair by flower, stem, balance of petals, look, color, disease and insect, and cuts.  

 

2. Trends in Japanese Consumption of Flowers: More Flowers Consumed by Individual Consumers

Japan is one of those big consumers of flowers. With its total consumption amounting to nearly 5 billion dollars, Japanese cut flower market is attractive to worldwide suppliers

While total spending and average spending for individual consumers are both at high levels, flower consumption by individual consumers remains low compared to the other major industrialized countries. This is because 70% of the total consumption has come from related industries where flowers are handled in ceremonial occasions such as weddings, funerals, public gifts, and flower decorations at hotels. Moreover, in Japan, relatively high price of each single stem flower tends to suppress consumer desire to buy.

Nonetheless, the Japanese flower market has undergone audacious changes for the last decade. Demand from public organizations such as hotels, state-run events, and flower arrangement has decreased from about 40% to 30% due to an economic downslide, whereas non-commercial demand as well as both markets for individual consumers (such as gifts, casual bouquets, and home landscaping) and regions (such as home, projects, and public venues) is all growing. Spending on personal purposes per household amounts to about 130 dollars a year, and about 100 dollars is spent on landscaping. The practice of buying flowers for oneself is traditionally less known to the Japanese society, but for last several years, it has moved closer to the European lifestyle

 

Japanese occasions celebrated with flowers and used flowers

2nd Monday of January

Coming of age (rose, sweetpea, tulip)

Feb. 14

Valentine Day (red rose)

Mar. 14

White Day (red rose, spring flowers)

Mar. 10 thru 20

Graduation ceremony and higan (the seven-day period surrounding the equinoxes)

(spring flowers, stock, marigold)

Apr. 1 thru 10

Matriculation ceremony (carnation, rose, bridal wreath, cherryblossom)

2nd Sunday of May

Mother’s Day (carnation, rose)

June

June’s Bride (rose and others)

2nd Sunday of June

Father’s Day (white rose and others)

Jul. 5 thru 11

Obon (celebrating the Buddhist All Souls’ Day on mid-July on lunar calendar) (chrysanthemum, gentian, asiatic lily)

Aug. 5 thru 12

Obon (the rest of Japan excluding Tokyo and some other parts) (chrysanthemum, small-flowered chrysanthemum, dydeka)

Sep. 15

Seniors’ Day (lisianthus, potted gentia, potted cattleya)

Sep. 15 thru 22

Autumnal higan (seven-day period surround the autumnal equinox) (chrysanthemum, gentia)

October, November

Autumn wedding season (lisianthus, rose)

First 20 days of December

Year-end (poinsettia, cyclamen, potted phalaenopsis, potted cymbidium)

Last 20 days of December

Christmas and New Year (red rose, chrysanthemum, pine, spearflower)

Source: Nobuo Isomura, Current State of Japanese Floral Industry and Its Prospects

 

3. Current Flower Imports to Japan

As one of the three biggest importers of the world, Japan purchases a great deal of flowers from all around the world. Its total import increased from 17.6 billion yen in 2000 to 27 billion yen in 2007, and dwindled to 26 billion yen in 2008 before it increased again in 2010, thus exceeding 30 billion yen in Japanese flower market.

Japanese flower import

Japanese flower import

In 2013, the estimate is USD 388 million, which registers an annual average growth of 3.1%. This suggests a gradual increase of cut flower import to Japanese market. As described in “Floral Industry in Major Countries ― Japan Part 1“, however, the March 2010 earthquake that hit Japan hard has caused the Japanese flower market to shrink rapidly. Moreover, recent hot summers and frequent precipitation caused by whimsical weather led to the occurrence of diseases and insects, which continues to serve as a drag on the merchantability of flowers.

Import of Cut flowers in Japan

Import of Cut flowers in Japan

More and more cut flowers are imported from countries like Malaysia, Colombia, Taiwan, China, and Thailand that have weather conditions favorable for flower growth and offers competitive price. As of 2011, top importers include Malaysia, Colombia, Taiwan, China, Thailand, and Korea.

Japan’s per capita spending on cut flowers was 243.7 billion yen in 2008 and has registered a steady increase, while chrysanthemum takes up the largest portion of the total cut flower import at 33.9%. With excellent quality ensured from farming in alpine regions and reasonable price, chrysanthemums imported from Malaysia registered a sharp increase from 19.9% in 2001 to 58.1% in 2010. With the import of low-priced Chinese chrysanthemums increasing from 3.3% to 18.8% during the same period, the portion of import from the countries is gradually increasing.

 

Flower import to Japan by country (unit: 1,000 yen)

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Total

23,858,016

26,259,504

27,995,981

26,341,639

26,017,458

30,770,581

29,325,817

Malaysia

4,542,712

5,731,397

6,261,872

6,284,886

6,320,923

7,603,344

8,052,467

Columbia

3,037,350

3,499,020

3,923,136

4,208,252

4,223,813

5,432,071

5,217,373

Taiwan

2,032,491

2,104,214

1,826,526

2,187,276

2,234,874

2,999,728

3,009,954

China

1,634,002

2,254,818

2,742,106

2,542,145

2,581,249

2,860,385

2,775,827

Thailand

3,001,413

3,413,549

3,961,842

3,323,934

2,982,936

3,116,222

2,643,174

S.Korea

2,279,937

1,557,996

1,389,833

1,430,439

1,673,670

2,227,511

1,740,064

Vietnam

720,841

828,761

983,788

999,241

1,243,910

1,305,656

1,455,563

New Zealand

1,629,574

1,584,754

1,715,424

1,330,840

1,258,945

1,368,104

1,164,680

Netherlands

1,290,478

1,207,022

1,087,389

893,337

722,746

943,018

810,868

Kenya

487,042

932,706

937,328

571,307

491,606

601,668

699,776

Ecuador

596,961

661,644

599,669

326,076

298,321

414,865

427,562

Australia

 

722,738

624,143

 

 

462,600

365,223

South Africa

284,247

223,714

220,310

218,075

183,376

312,948

267,969

India

427,144

649,128

698,475

505,957

419,744

351,898

175,532

Ethiopia

 

12,239

87,844

246,844

228,465

239,045

110,801

Israel

156,042

141,769

154,084

107,620

69,552

88,461

96,493

Singapore

447,187

192,996

151,708

109,303

88,992

82,696

70,354

Zimbabwe

55,927

39,356

41,118

44,692

50,415

54,765

64,327

Indonesia

24,508

19,911

67,383

46,410

35,937

49,275

62,308

USA

134,579

140,202

122,799

36,300

54,203

39,217

40,589

Mauritius

61,486

 

64,673

66,723

69,608

 

37,884

Turkey

80,874

104,888

119,059

44,895

40,460

55,843

37,029

Phillipines

524

5,064

10,257

15,110

17,199

30,112

 

Italy

59,122

73,482

89,267

77,044

48,658

35,345

 

Belgium

 

 

1,337

1,365

8,750

3,713

 

Chille

2,616

18,620

27,625

38,073

6,832

5,745

 

Peru

3,655

3,897

6,626

4,869

7,329

8,759

 

Etcetra.

867,304

135,619

80,360

680,626

654,945

77,587

 

Source: Flower statistics from Ministry of Finance, Japan

Build a Home with a Shipping Container (2/2)

Build a Home with a Shipping Container second part

 

In our earlier piece on the container house, we checked how a container house was used as an eco-friendly architectural item. Now, what excellent architectural pieces that we have around are made with cargo containers?

 

1. A beautiful office design that uses containers

Container Office_Group 8

Container Office_Group 8 (Source: Group 8)

This is an office look designed by Group 8, an architectural firm based in Geneva, Switzerland. The design came up with an independent space with containers alone and without bothering to separate the space, and in a remarkable demonstration of uniqueness, the characteristics of a cargo container were fully exploited, thus obviating the need to design a separate partition or a meeting room. By tapping into the material and concept of a shipping container, they easily captured the characteristic mix of an open and cool office space and an independent space that ensured concentration. While the idea is unique and fun as it takes containers for using space, the architectural design actually creates an office atmosphere that is at once very neat and pretty much modern. Also, the combination of a modern building and a vintage cargo container alone delivers a fresh look to its customers. More than anything else, it is all the better because such a design would save resources. This must be a case in which two birds of design and efficiency have been killed with one stone.

Container Office3_Group 8

Container Office3_Group 8

Container Office2_Group 8

Container Office2_Group 8

 

2. A dream container dormitory that is at once inexpensive and well-designed

Container house_Cattini Architects

Container house_Cattini Architects (Source:www.bugaga.ru)

Cattini Architects, a French architectural firm, built a college dorm with containers. Their project exploited the fact that as the construction of a house that uses containers would greatly reduce costs for structure and materials, it can be cheaper than the construction of ordinary homes (dorm in this case). It is popular among students, as it has lowered housing rates. The building that has the size of ten 10-story apartments comes to a total area of 24m2, with the front of the container being used as a terrace to ensure natural lighting. Having provided an effective solution to the rising home prices and upgraded the usability of space, it is the best case in which containers are used to build a public building.

Container house

Container house (Source: www.bugaga.ru)

Certainly, containers register good usability not only for maritime transport but also as construction materials. Even containers can turn into beautiful and stylish buildings through creative ideas and initiatives. Moreover, as mentioned in the earlier article, another attraction presented by shipping containers is that they make it possible to pursue the beauty of coexistence between modern and antique. Name of the game would be how one can incorporate practical and sensable into a design, and ideas that use space will have to mushroom and be established as standards. Thu, we can look forward to an increase in building that use containers and container buildings that upgrade the usability of resources. This will also serve as another method for effectively reducing industrial wastes and creating eco-friendly space creation.
 

3. A container house available from Airbnb

Inkijk museum_container house2

Inkijk museum_container house2 (Source: airbnb)

Eindhoven is a city located in North Brabant, the second largest province in the southern Netherlands. The Dommel river flows in the city, which is an industrial center that hosts Philips, the representative Dutch global company and the home to PSV Eindhoven, the famous soccer team. Notably, the city was built on river sand. This historic and lively city has a space converted from containers that used to be a laundry for a textile factory, and it is called Inkijkmuseum. The Dutch name means ‘museum one looks into’, and as a visitor steps into the lodging, small and large picture frames that fill its walls draw the gaze.

Inkijk museum_container house1

Inkijk museum_container house1 (Source: airbnb)

The exhibits are pictures that were painted by world-wide artists with the topic of ‘Show Your Hope’. The lodging boasts an excellent location, as it has the Dommel and a number of nice bars and restaurants with a 100m radius. Staying at this small museum presents an opportunity to indulge in the Dutch landscape. To boot, the house is available from Airbnb, which charges about USD 60 per night.

Inkijk museum_container house3

Inkijk museum_container house3 (Source: airbnb)

Build a Home with a Shipping Container?

Build a Home with a Shipping Container?

 

A container is an indispensable tool for the transport industry. It is an innovative item that is widely used throughout sea, air, and land transport.

 

Yet, how many people would think of a cargo container when they build a home? People may do so if they think deeply about it, but it wouldn’t be much to say that no one will first think of a cargo container as a construction material or a prop for building a home. Yet, this rectangular structure called a container actually serves as an excellent architectural element. Moreover, it registers excellent esthetic quality, in that the exterior of a container can erase itself and can instead give a modern feel. A home built with a recycled container often presents an antique feel. In fact, they say that a lot of architects around the world are creating various buildings, using this structure as a module. So, today, we’re going to talk about container housing.

container house

container house

1. Advantage of a Container House: Economic Feasibility

The biggest advantage of a shipping container as an architectural piece is its cheapness. As a container can excellently perform the role of a basic structure of a building, it is apt to turn into a building. And the air-tightness that prevents a container from subsiding under the sea conjures up excellent building skin. Thanks to the characteristics of a cargo container, one doesn’t need additional framework when building a container house. Moreover, as its construction can be done in a short period, total construction cost is pretty reasonable.
 

2. Advantage of a Container House: Expandability

The area of a cargo container is 28.8㎡. Two combined containers makes the size of 57.6㎡, and if an architect puts a little bit more of his brain into this, it can increase the space further, thus enabling it to create a small house for 3 or 4 person family. For example, the iron locked door can be kept for the rough quality of a container, while space may be increased by putting a living room inside the right-hand door and a kitchen on the left and creating a glass outer door between the door and the house. As mentioned earlier, reasonably priced materials make another good reason for expansion. Securing space would complete a comfortable residential environment with a relatively small budget.

container house

container house

 

3. Advantage of a Container House: Green Environment

With its life stretching to 20 or 25 years, a container is reportedly drawing spotlight as an eco-friendly construction material for building a residential house.

adam kalkin container house

adam kalkin container house

Adam Kalkin, an Italian architect, is a leader for eco-friendly container housing. Kalkin builds homes using only waste containers. His love of containers is such that he has even designed his own home to be built with containers. Kalkin wants to let more people know that one can design an excellent and stylish house with waste containers. In that sense, Adam Kalkin is perhaps the vanguard among current architects in architectural design that uses waste containers. His container architecture may look crude on the outside but its interior boasts a sensible design that can even compare to a stylish pent house. His design presents a unique harmony between an old style and a modern feel. Kalkin created Push Button House, which when the button is pushed, unfolds into a makeshift house with both side walls opening like wings. Push Button House was used for an open-air cafè through partnership with illy, a coffee brand.

adam kalkin container house2

adam kalkin container house2

The meaning of “Hub and Spoke System” in marine transport

The meaning of “Hub and Spoke System” in marine transport

 

1. Hub & Spoke System

When divided into size and operation type, the container terminals could be divided largely into large major terminals (Hub) and mid to small sized terminals (Spoke).

Fedex & Hub&Spoke System

Fedex & Hub&Spoke System

Hub and Spoke System is the logistics system which Federal Express adopted to realize the next-day delivery system. In this system, when goods are sent from the origination point to a certain central location in a territory, they converge with the goods that came from other places at the same timeframe, reclassified depending on the final destination, after which they are once again sent off to the individual destinations. Such a system is used not only in air transport but also in marine and land transports as well.
 

2. Expansion of the hub & spoke system as a result of advent of large vessels

The hub & spoke system is growing as a result of the advent of large vessels as was seen in past postings. Whereas, in the past, most vessels stopped over in all ports at least once, if large vessels are placed in navigations routes as is being done now, they will only be stopping at large hub ports where anchoring would be feasible. This translates into the increase in the so-called trans-shipment(TS) freights. Here, TS means such freight as those that are piled up on the yard without exiting through the terminal gate and then carried through intact on vessels. Put another way, the freights are unloaded in the main hub in the territory, and then the small vessels carry the freights from the hub ports to the neighboring ports.

Hub & Spoke System

Hub & Spoke System

The trans-shipment ports, national or regional main getaways and other hub ports in developed countries and major base ports are mostly terminals exclusively for containers due to large processing of freights. In the case of spoke ports which move again from the hub, many are complex terminals which handle containers and bulk freights at the same time, and most consist of small scale manual terminals. Also, spoke ports are often small trans-shipment ports in regional getaway or new emerging economies, and whereas the hub ports own large scale terminal management companies, the spoke ports belong to regional terminal management companies, governments are port authorities.
 

3. Steady demand for small vessels

large container ships and container terminal operation at long beach terminal

large container ships and container terminal operation at long beach terminal

Despite the vessels becoming larger and larger, there is expected to be steady demand for small vessels as well. As the vessels are becoming larger, the ships placed within the territories are also becoming larger. However, the demand for small vessels is also rising.

As large vessels are placed in the ocean, the Hub & Spoke transport pattern became developed and the demand for small ships, which can collect the freights from neighboring ports to the hub ports, will continue to increase. As for the Asian region where there are many islands, the utility of small vessels will become even greater due to the region’s characteristics. Another reason for the increased demand for small ships is the lack of ports that could accommodate large vessels.

 

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The meaning and origin of “Mayday,” the emergency distress signal

The meaning and origin of “Mayday,” the emergency distress signal

 

“Mayday” is the radio signal which the captains of airplanes falling from the sky or ships experiencing torrential rain at the sea send out in movies. I am sure you have seen those scenes where they frantically exclaim “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” at least once. So then, how has this “May Day” come to be used as a distress call?

1. Two meanings of Mayday

May Day has two meanings. When written as “May Day” it means the first day in May, which the Labor Day. This is the day on which the workers around the world forge the spirit of alliance in order to improve employment conditions and raise their positions. On this day, the workers in each country take a day off from work, have assemblies and conduct demonstrations to exhibit their coalition and unity.

Labour-Day

Labour-Day

Another form of this term, written as one word, “Mayday” means a distress call.

Mayday is a radio distress signal used internationally. So since when did Mayday come to be used internationally and what does it mean?
 

2. Morse code SOS as distress call until 1920’s

Until the early 1920’s, “SOS” was used for distress calls, which was made using the Morse Code. The Morse Code are transmission symbols which express the English Alphabet using permutations of lines and dots of electrical current, invented by Morse. Since SOS was the word that could be made simply using the Morse Code, it became the distress call in cases of emergency.

While SOS is the representative distress signal used in radio transmissions, in radio voice telecommunications, it is “Mayday.” Just as SOS is a term that was created after seeking the simplest meaningless permutation of the Morse Code, so is Mayday entirely unrelated to Labor Day, created for a very simple reason.

Morse Code_SOS

Morse Code_SOS

 
3. Mayday from French word

However, when it became possible to transmit voices with the advancement in telecommunication technology, a need arose for a new distress signal in international aviation. And it was born from the suggestion in 1923 by Frederick Mockford, the aviation radio operator at Croydon Airport, England. Mockford said that there is a need for distress signal which the airplanes could use internationally.
In French, “Viens m’aider” means “help me.” “M’aider” is pronounced in the way similar to “Mayday” in English. This French word sufficiently imparts the emergency of a situation while also not very difficult to pronounce. It was a time when most of the air traffic was between Croydon Airport in England and Bourget Airport in France, and as compared to now, the French language was very much in wide use internationally.
Aviation-related terms were no exception, with both English and French being used frequently. Therefore, it was decided that Mayday, which is similar in pronunciation to the French word “m’aider” from “Viens m’aider” would be used for emergency distress signal that could be used by both the French and English speakers.

origin of mayday

origin of mayday

The Croydon Airport adopted Mockford’s suggestion, and upon agreement with its French counterpart, “Mayday” came to be used as the distress call. When this use became more wide-spread, it became accepted as an official term at the 1927 international radio communication conference, and since then, “Mayday” became established as international distress signal.
 

4. The other emergency signals: Pan Pan, flags, red chloride rocket

Similarly, under circumstances less emergent than Mayday situations, but which involve malfunction or emergency medical situation, the distress call of “Pan-Pan” is used. This term was also taken from a French word “Panne” which means malfunction or out of order.

emegency distress signal mayday

emegency distress signal mayday

Aside from “Mayday,” there are 12 other distress signals for vessels, including firing, Morse Code, flags and red chloride rocket. However, the fastest and most accurate would be the radio transmission of “Mayday.”

 

So today we have learned about the meaning and origin of “Mayday,” the emergency distress signal.

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