07 COASTAL SHIPPING
Cargo ferry: automobile transportation liner business
In the late 1950s, when the marine transport of automobiles was growing rapidly, concerns were raised about the impact of such operations on the healthy development of passenger ferry services. In response, the transportation of automobiles was separated from regular freight services in 1960 and established as a separate category, automobile transportation liner business (commonly known as cargo ferry), subject to supply-demand adjustment regulations. Together with coastal roll-on roll-off (RORO) vessels, cargo ferries are among the most significant transportation systems and contribute to the promotion of efficient logistics. However, when the supply-demand adjustment regulation is abolished, other regulations on the transportation of automobiles will be abolished as well. This will eliminate the reason for maintaining the cargo ferry category. It will then be appropriate to redefine cargo ferries as one mode of coastal shipping service.
Review of the tonnage adjustment project for coastal shipping business
The Tonnage Adjustment refers to a scrap-and-build shipbuilding method by which vessels are constructed in connection with the decommissioning of existing vessels. This system has been implemented to protect the interests of ship-owners. However, in the interest of their users, coastal shipping services must move urgently to improve transport efficiency and promote modal shifting away from land transportation. For this reason, this project has been given provisional status, incorporating the following measures: (1) Immediate relaxation of restrictions on ports-of-call for cargo vessels eligible for modal shifts, as well as regulations governing the use of cement carriers for transporting fly ash and other materials for cement production. (2) Flexible application of the Tonnage Adjustment to cargo vessels with guaranteed long-term freight, such as steel and oil, based on the negotiations between the Japan Federation of Coastal Shipping Associations and consignors organizations. (3) Flexible application of the Tonnage Adjustment to reflect the needs of users by grasping the needs of consignor organizations, adjusting the scrap-and-build ratio, and making temporary use of international transport vessels. The vessel types eligible for modal shifts should be exempted from the Tonnage Adjustment Project at an early stage. In addition to the above measures, the current Tonnage Adjustment should be modified to reduce the dependency of coastal shipping service providers on it.