Since 1990s, the international shipping has experienced a number of changes such as explosive fleet expansion, economies of scale, and the advent of the specialized shipping. Combined with ever-increasing international trade flows, these changes have raised concerns about maritime traffic accidents. To come up with the dynamic changes, international shipping governing bodies have introduced a set of new regulations, for instant, the ISM code, the ISPS, and the MLC convention, which require specialties and strict quality controls in ship management.
As the shipping industry becomes more sophisticated and specialized, the ship management business is not any longer regarded as an in-house function, but as one of the major sub-sectors of the whole shipping industry and it is playing a pivotal role in establishing international logistics networks. Domestic ship management business, however, is far behind the international developments and losing competitive edges in terms of size and specialty.
This thesis aims to investigate the current logistics capabilities of domestic ship management companies and to suggest which logistic capabilities need improving for enhanced operational or financial performance. Especially, in this study, the ship management companies are categorized into three groups: the integrated units, the intermediate players and the independent players.
In the literature review, this study presents previous studies on ship management, logistics capabilities and business performance. Then, the empirical analysis is carried out to demonstrate the relationships between variables such as company-specific factors and logistics capabilities, logistics capabilities and business performance, etc. The data is collected from the questionnaire circulated to ship management practitioners and analyzed in the regression and the variance model.
The result demonstrates that logistics capabilities are significantly dependent on the company type, customers’ nationality, the contract type, the number of staff and the number of ships, but there is no relevance with the coverage of ship management service. This is attributed to the low recognition of commercial management and the relatively small portion of crew manning in the domestic ship management business.
In regard to the relationship between logistics capabilities and business performance, intangible factors, such as business experience, management ability and corporate image, have a significant impact on business performance while tangible factors do not.
In conclusion, each ship management entity needs to gain its logistics competitive edge according to its company type and customers’ nationality. Especially, gaining more outsourcing contracts and company expansion are the major factors to logistics capabilities enhancement. In addition, the ship management business should focus on increasing the value of intangible assets combined with staff education and electronic business process renovation for better business performance.