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Interview/Mr. Oh-In, KWON, Director, COA Korea Regional Branch
Friday, April 22, 2011, 09:09:29 Paul Yoon

▲ Oh-In, KWON, Director, COA Korea

Container Owners Association (COA) Korea Regional Branch, is changing with Kwon Oh-In, senior vice president of STX Pan Ocean who took office as its 2nd Director, last year.

COA Korea whose members are container carriers and container leasing firms in Korea, has been working inactively all the while in absence of members’ positive participation. But it is very dynamically changing now with Kwon Oh In, senior vice president of STX Pan Ocean, in charge of Container CIC Marketing Division as its chief, appointed as the second Rep. of COA Korea. The biggest changes, notably, are that container carriers have begun to move towards more active participation in COA, Korea, and that Korea Shipowners’ Association (KSA) has also started to turn its eyes to COA Korea’s move since Mr. Kwon’s appointment.

Rep. Kwon Oh In said of his pledges: “Though container handlings are the major pending issues for container shipping lines and car ferry operators, there has been no satisfactory study and response in this respect on their part. We will concentrate all our efforts on solution to the pending issues concerned with container handlings in close consultation with the KSA, MLTM and others.”

Rep. Kwon plans to induce container lines to purchase at a reasonably lower price container boxes after being recognized as collateral, which is the most pressing issue to be addressed at the moment. The present situation is that container lines are forced to purchase boxes at a very high price in cash or lease them with later compulsory purchase option at a very high rate from container leasing firms because they are unable to get container boxes approved as collateral by bankers whereas ship finance is available at maximum up to 80% of ship’s value with ship mortgaged.

Rep. Kwon said: “Bankers are unwilling to recognize boxes as security, reasoning that they cannot trace boxes in the case of problems although container lines need a set of carriers and boxes to provide shipping service. In the past there were a few cases whereby banks suffered some losses from the carriers in trouble, unable to trace boxes for collection, but the risk of losing boxes are greatly reduced these days with 100% box recovery possible thanks to the advanced box tracking system.”

In addition to the issue of getting boxes approved as collateral, Rep. Kwon Oh In plans to build the practical system allowing Korean container shipping lines to share technical information on container box handlings.

Rep. Kwon said: “Korean flag container lines and car ferry lines have kept no adequate places to share information on handling boxes thus far. The sharing among them of latest information on box handling, box system, box operation, and global box trend can provide them with common benefit including cost reduction.” COA Korea will play a central role in sharing practical technical information on box handlings among container lines, he added.

Mr. Kwon will push the KSA to play a part in relation with container box handlings so that the practical technical information on box handlings could be well exchanged among container lines and their common concerns including every international convention related with container handlings could be best dealt with.

In closing, Rep. Kwon expected that Korean enterprises would participate in the box manufacture as one way to overcome the difficult situation of box construction entirely dominated by Chinese firms.

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