Due to the impact of COVID-19, the global trade and sea shipping market underwent treacherous changes in 2020. In the first half of the year, the global trade and container shipping market was severely stuck due to the pandemic. In the second half of the year, as countries lifted lockdowns, the demand for medical supplies and e-commerce went strong, and the economic activities gradually recovered, the sea shipping market also recovered. Due to the rapid changes in the global market, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and international shipping professional consulting agencies have continuously adjusted their world economic and see shipping growth forecasts. Evergreen also quickly adjusted the Company's business strategy to respond to market changes. As per the statistics from Alphaliner, a professional consultancy, only another 855,000 TEU would be added globally in 2020, which was a new low in the past 11 years. Although TEU increased by 2.6% as compared to that in 2019, which was also the second lowest in the past 11 years. However, in terms of the market, although the shipping volume rebounded in the second half of the year, the shipping volume dropped sharply in the first half of the year, so the annual shipping volume decreased by 1.4% as compared with that in 2019. Meanwhile, while the market rebounded in the second half of the year, terminal operations were still affected by the pandemic, resulting in a shortage of slots and empty containers in some regions.Faced with the uncertainties in the market, Evergreen took the measures below to respond:
- Continued to collaborate with the OA to make good use of ship resources and improve slot space utilization and service quality.
- Adjusted the fleet configuration flexibly, increase or decrease the frequency of ships as per the market demand, and improve the efficiency of ship operations.
- Reduced the percentage of inland transportation in the United States to use the space effectively and reduce the container factors.
- Customized new containers and postpone the return of the leased ones to meet customers' needs.
- Actively expanded the e-commerce platform to provide quotes, booking, and post-shipping services to increase customer stickiness.
As the population continues to increase, the Free Trade Agreements are gradually signed around the world, and the vaccination of COVID-19 vaccines, it can be expected that the demand for global trade will be surely increase in the future. However, in the future, as the world may still face trade and geopolitical conflicts, the subsequent impact of the COVID-19 virus, the successive delivery of new ultra-large ships in the market, climate change, and new environmental protection regulations, the challenges may be even more daunting. With that, Evergreen Marine will continue to set targets of revenue and shipping volume, accelerate the construction of new eco-friendly ships, and expand to new markets to satisfy customers' needs for slot space. At the same time, the Company will work to optimize the service quality and improve the overall competitiveness through shipping alliances, cloud technology, and network platforms. In terms of cost and risk control, Evergreen Marine will strictly control various costs and expenses, and implement the risk management mechanisms for operations, finances, procurement, and climate change as per the established risk management policies so as to achieve various targets as planned. Evergreen Marine has integrated sustainable operations into our daily business. Therefore, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN Global Compact have bee prioritized in the development of various fields, such as ship and container design, meteorological navigation equipment, participation in OA, adoption of e-commerce platforms, ethical corporate management, and talent training. In the future, Evergreen Marine will continue to implement this policy to fulfill our corporate social responsibility.
As the world's leading container transportation and shipping company, Evergreen Marine shoulders the responsibility for promoting corporate citizenship in addition to providing quality services across the globe. With our corporate social responsibility centered on the aspects of environment, society and governance (ESG), we expect ourselves to strive toward the mission and vision of corporate social responsibility with concrete action.
To secure long-term viability, Evergreen Marine is striving toward the Sustainable Development Goals, which are the blueprint centering on environmental protection, social inclusion, and economic growth to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. We have formulated the "Corporate Social Responsibility Best Practice Principles." The Corporate Social Responsibility Committee is also in place to be in charge of promoting CSR and sustainable development. The Corporate Social Responsibility Committee reports the results of CSR practice to the Board of Directors every year. In the face of global warming and climate change, we have introduced the TCFD framework to identify climate risks and opportunities and have set out management policies. Meanwhile, we respond to the CDP questionnaire. In the future, we will plan to participate in more international initiatives and obtain management certifications to demonstrate our determination to achieve sustainable operations through practical actions.
To achieve corporate sustainability, we have set the following short-, medium- and long-term goals and strategies:
- Enhance joint cooperations and improve service quality
- Optimize fleet configuration and strengthen market competition
- Adjust the fleets flexibly to adapt to market changes
- Control various costs and enhance digital services
- Participate in international initiatives and fulfill social responsibilities
- Strengthen joint operation strategy and increase opportunities from new markets
- Replace old ships with new ones to get prepared for environmental protection early
- Adopt flexible operating strategy and improve operating efficiency
- Adopt digital platforms to develop smart transportation
- Increase participation in initiatives to facilitate industrial upgrading