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Background Analysis of the Company

Discuss about the Entrepreneur and Innovation for Chesbrough.

It is evident that entrepreneurial ideas are widely used in leading the business towards the desired direction. Most of the large organizations use the idea of innovation and entrepreneurship to lessen the impact of potential risks in the business. In addition, as the needs and demands of business are changing, the trends of business are also changing with time. Thus, the marketers have got the rush to develop different innovative business ideas that helps to meet the needs of people and increase the profits of business. As mentioned by Chesbrough (2013), firms today act under an increasing pressure by other large enterprises that offer the same and the similar products and services.

Therefore, to deal with the new conditions as well as situations, the organizations are bound to persistently search for new ways of the productions. The process is usually conducted by launching new products and enhancing existing products. Conversely, the organizations should continuously introduce innovations. In this context, Simons (2013) commented that due to the increasing and intense competition in the global environment, the organizations observe the rush to reconsider competitiveness through their competitors by applying innovation in business. Likewise, as the organization implements the innovative ideas in the form of launching a new product or developing the existing ones, the entrepreneurial ideas, in this context, are highly embraced by the marketers. Therefore, in order to understand these innovative and entrepreneurial ideas, the current operation of Ardmore Shipping. It is observed that Ardmore Shipping is involved in the ownership as well as the operation of the products and chemical tankers in global business.

The organization Ardmore Shipping acquires and operates a fleet of mid-size products. The company has also extended its operations of chemical takers that has the range of 17500 Dwt to 50,3000 Dwt (Yang, Lu, Haider, and Marlow 2013). The company provides seaborne transportation of petroleum products as well as the chemicals in the global market. The key strategy of the organization is to enhance an advanced, high quality fleet of products as well as chemical tankers. Through its operation, the organization forms long-term commercial relationship as well as maintain its cost advantages in assets.

Ardmore Shipping is determined to build a new shipping company with long-term growth plans. The company has been running its shipping operations over the decades. The organization has developed itself into a first-class organization dedicated to the effective operating practices, operational efficiency as well as the customer service. The company provides shipping services to the consumers through voyage charters, time charters as well a as the commercial pools. Ardmore formed a close working relationship with major commercial as well as the technical management partners. As mentioned by Hall, O'Brien, and Woudsma (2013), new challenges of shipping are influencing the operations in the internal market.

Financial Strength and Flexibility

According to the annual report (2015), Ardmore Shipping Corporation has generated the revenue of $157.9 million (Poulis, Poulis and Dooley (2013). In addition, the company has earned the net profit for the year for 2015 is $32.0 million. In 2014, overall income was around 2014. The strong financial performance of the organization is attributed to the development in revenue days associated with the addition of 10 new vessels to the fleet. In addition, the organization has continued its operation effectively with their overhead per ship existing among the least of their peers. In addition to all these, the company also maintains a conservative balance sheet with overall assets of 1778.2 (Shi 2014). The overall cash balance of the Ardmore was $40.1 million at end of the year (Ardmore Shipping Corporation InvestorRoom 2016). The organization has completed a refinancing of $408 million in debt at increased terms. Thus, the re-financing initiative has decreased Ardmore’s cost of capital as well as reduces the interest capital of the company. Additionally, re-financing has tremendously enhances organization’s super cash flow by nearly $6.7 million in 2015. On the contrary, it has also been identified that under the new dividend policy Ardmore Shipping Corporation pay out 60% of earnings from prolonging operations (Ardmore Shipping Corporation Investor Room 2016). This allows their shareholders to directly take part in stabilizing the charter market.

Customers: The customers of Ardmore include regional, global and national organizations. Likewise, the fleet of the organization is employed through a mixture of time charters and direct charter employment. The company has formed a developing relationship with the customers or the end of users who take services by satisfying their needs and demands (Lun et al. 2013). In addition, as the organization is running the operation over a long period, it has increased its customer base. Due to the increasing number vessels and their availability, the company undertake long-term operation.

Competition:  The organization operates in the markets that are largely competitive and dependent primarily on supply as well as the demand. The organization competes for charters on the basis of the price, location of the vessel, size and conditions of the vessel and the reputation of the company. Ownership of the tanker vessel is largely fragmented and is divided among the organizations that are considered as public (Panayides, Lambertides and Cullinane 2013). However, Ardmore has the long history of operation, which indicates that from the inception of the tanker industry, the organization captured a wide section of the market.

Customers

It has been identified that cost structure of the shipping industry are often considered as the significant element while emphasizing on the carrier competitiveness as well as the market competition. This section of the report elaborates the optimized chain cost of container shipping based on the relevant information and statistical data gathered from vast shipping industry and ongoing operation of Ardmore Shipping. Hence, TRP model is applied to identify the potential aspects influencing the overall operation of the company including the operation of the organization. This model stimulates as well as compares the transport costs of the moving cargo on particular trips and the characteristics of vessels with a particular selection mentioned in the following.

  • Port of Departure: Antwerp, Le Havre and Lisbon
  • Port of Destination: “Shanghai, China and Norfolk USA”
  • Ship functions and the cargo capacity of the ships: From 5500 to 18000

Therefore, the stimulation cost of the effects that affect the operation cost of the ship by different factors like:

  • Steady steaming and traditional high financial progress
  • Changes on the fuel cost based on the environment and this comes under environmental requirements

The analysis made on different origins of the cargo demonstrates that the overall cost of the chain port could encourage the organization to use the nearest ports; however, this may not happen always. On the contrary, Vaughan et al. (2013) commented that decisions of shipping through any of the five EU ports have been analysed hence, relies widely on total cost at the sea and at the port. Hence, the competitive analysis of the expense at EU ports where Ardmore shipping often the runs the operations considering as their revenue sources implies that Antwerp is comparatively less expensive for destinations in far EAST (Rojon 2013). Notwithstanding, Ardmore’s operations for United States cost destinations, the most competitive port would always be Lisbon leaving the inclusion of hinterland cost. In addition, it has also identified that Ardmore finds Lisbon as the competitive in sea and port costs for East Cost Trade lanes in United State; however, not Far East. This indicates a negative or affected relationship the competitive nature Lisbon and the deep sea transport. Thus, it has been observed that the port with similar costs as Lisbon in competition with the trade in Far East needs an increase in port capacity for dealing with ultra large container ships. Unlike the deep sea transportation, the shorter deep sea trade lanes provide the opportunity for the other ports like Lisbon to compete. This has probably been the significant reason for the increasing growth (13%) of Lisbon’s port (Panayides, Lambertides and Cullinane, 2013).

While an earlier section describes the cost effects, this section provides a benchmark analysis of the financial performance of large shipping organizations like Ardmore Shipping Corporation in all shipping markets. Thus, to do this, the dimensions for the segmentation of the shipping industry are related to geographical and business sectors. Hence, major purpose is to compare Ardmore Shipping in EU shipping line’s performance with the organizations from Asia and other large countries (Sampson 2013). The collection of the data is based on three different approaches that provide information regarding the organizations that have been running the operations from 2010 to 2013.

  • The Global Shipping Benchmark database of PWC
  • The Avention database
  • Desk research based on the financial statement of the companies

Competition

The intensive data collection and in-depth research provides the outcome of the analysis including the operations of more than 300 companies along with the operation of Ardmore Shipping. Notwithstanding, approximately 200 organizations provided financial statements with adequate details as well as the competitiveness. Thus, the information on the number of employees as well as cost of personnel is presented only by a similar share. The data shows that most of the large organizations (52%) like Ardmore Shipping or the competitors of the company are based on Europe and 34% are belonging to Asia followed by North America (10%) (Andriosopoulos et al.2013). This data shows European shipping sector provides optimal trading opportunities. On the contrary, the number of organizations from South America, Australia and Africa are comparatively less than the companies in Europe and Asia.

Countries

Participation to the Shipping sector

Europe

52%

Asia

34%

North America

10%

South America

2%

Oceania

1%

Africa

1%

Table 1: The percentage of the organization in shipping industry

(Source: McCollum et al.  2013)

percentage of the organization in shipping industry

Figure 1: percentage of the organization in shipping industry

The background analysis of the company indicates that tanker industry has become dynamic and different trends are being adopted in the operation conducted within the industry. Therefore, in order to deal with the dynamic environment of the industry, it is necessary for the organization to gain the ideas regarding the significant trends that could influence operation. Especially, the crude oil tanker industry is expected to increase strongly in 2016 with the desired fleet increase of 4.3% (Armstrong 2013). In this context, (Ostreng et al.2013) also commented that most of the new tankers would be delivered in the second of 2016. Likewise, the demolition activity is probably remaining subdued since the market observed an increase rates. On the contrary, Cahoon, Pateman and Chen (2013) provided an insight that following an ordering activity over the past few years that brings about present positive market at the 6 months of 2015. However, this trend is ended and the proposed orders arrive than the expected time. Therefore, it is observed that the year ended at 11.4 million DWT for oil product tankers. In addition, for the crude oil tanker segment, the new building market was busy throughout the entire year.

However, in order to deal with the dynamic environment of the tanker industry, the organization could implement the innovative ideas such as expanding the contract the oil and gas organization that manufacture the products. Ardmore Shipping needs to innovate its traditional ways of running the operations. While making the contracts with the oil and gas companies, the shipping corporations need to expand the contracts by reducing the cost of carrying the operations. Hence, both of the parties are free from the potential risks and outcome of the dynamic environment. However, this strategy can only be applied to when the shipping organizations have more clients. For example, Ardmore Shipping Corporation needs to increase the number of clients.  Thus, the strategy of cutting the cost of operation can be conducted if the company has increasing number clients. However, as commented by Aguado,  Alvarez and Domingo (2013), in order to undertake the operation of large of clients, the shipping corporation may need to have skilled workforce as well as the advanced technology, as clients may demand the quick operations. Thus, to provide speedy delivery of the services, the company needs to apply advance technology and increase the workforce.

Trip-Level Cost Structure and Competitive Analysis

On the contrary, while adopting new technology and increasing workforce, the organization Ardmore Shipping needs to emphasise on the operational safety as well as the quality maintenance for all of their vessels. Likewise, the company also needs to comply with present as well as the proposed environmental laws. The organization may apply the innovative strategy of outsourcing the technical operations as well as crewing. In order to conduct the proposed contract with the clients, the company needs to focus on the high utilization of all of their vessels. The shipping corporations also need to develop an effective relationship to the main charters. However, it also important for the organization to provide training to the staff that deals with the cargo operations. While applying the technology in the operation, it is necessary that workers have sufficient knowledge regarding the use of the technology. Thus, because of these reasons, the workforce should be developed. On the contrary, it is necessary that shipping organizations must comply with the environmental standards and other regulations (Baden-Fuller and Haefliger 2013). Thereby, it is the responsibility of the organization to promote the awareness among the people in the organization regarding the environmental standards.

Apart from the internal operational strategy, the organization also needs to focus on the external environment that indirectly influences the operation of the organization. The other large organization such as Frontline Ltd has acquired a large part of the market with its continuous operations and flawless services. The competitors in the tanker industry are determined to utilise the advanced strategies to recover the damage occurred due to the cut down in the operation because of the increasing environmental regulations. Thus, Ardmore Shipping Corporation needs to also focus on the strategies or the approaches that have widely been used by the rivals in the industry. Hence, the company could invest more on the technology to reduce the time of operations. This opens up of the opportunity of undertaking another operation utilizing the available vessels.  In this context, Davenport (2013), commented that the use of the technology in shipping operation is an effective choice.

However, most of the shipping organizations do not take the risk of investing more on the technology. Due to the dynamic nature of the industry, this means sometimes the demands may be high but the shortage in the supply or the demand of the products is less, the organizations tend to suffer from the loss of the investment. Furthermore, external weaknesses also prevent the ways of applying the entrepreneurial ideas. For example, the aggressive operations of competitors like MOL Group. According to the secondary source of the data, it has been identified that MOL Group acquires ship management organizations that are specialize to tankers. The company is highly developed customer services even in the crisis period. Therefore, it is also necessary for Ardmore Shipping Corporation to pay attention to the aspect of the customer service. Developed customer service in the tanker industry plays an important in the technique recovering the damage. Another significant factor influencing the operation is shipping has obtained the demand, if in case oil and gas industries suffer from the unexpected crisis, the shipping organization may find it difficult to conduct its normal operation within the usual time.

Port Departure and Destinations of the Trip Affecting the Costs

The tanker industry is considerably influenced by multiple key elements and these key elements have wide impact on the industry and the organizations that provide the services. These key elements may include the demand, the supply of tanker, rates of freight, international regulations and expense. Thus, in order to understand the dynamics of this sector, it is necessary to examine each element as well as inter-relationship by evaluating the behaviours of the market.

Demand of the tanker: As mentioned by (Drobetz et al. (2013) a tanker is categorized for carrying petroleum products including the crude oil (70% of the world tanker) and refine products (30%). This has been probably been the reason that tanker demand is usually determined by the movements of the cargo. As commented by Massa and Tucci (2013), at the time of first oil crisis in 1974, when crude price increased sharply from $3 per barrel to $11, the consumption of oil reduced by 1.4%. As a result, at the time of second oil crisis (1979-1980), the consumption of the oil reduced by 8% (Schneider and Spieth 2013). The increasing shortfall in oil consumption leads to the continuous depression in the tanker industry; especially due to this over-supplied situation. The demand of the tanker is increased by an average of 5% during 1974-1979. In this context, Boons and Lüdeke-Freund (2013) mentioned that the growth of tanker demand is slow in comparison with the average increase of 15%. Therefore, it can be mentioned that the demand of tanker widely has widely changed than the consumption of oil did. It can be added that tanker demand is affected by the consumption of the oil; however, other factors such as distance from the exporting areas to importing areas associated with the operation could also affect the industry.

Freight Rates: It has been identified that the movement of the freight rates are observed to be very dynamic as well as complicated. As commented by Rojon (2013), the freight rates are determined by the balance between supply as well as demand through free competition among the charters and owners. However, in the current context, the brokers play a significant role in making the deals and the intermediaries. The brokers provide the professional advice and the information regarding the industry to the clients. As commented by Panayides, Lambertides and Cullinane (2013), if a deal fails due to one of the two sides, an owner takes all risks and responsibility of bearing the loss due to an idling vessel. This is a significant issue, if the loading date of the cargo is not fixed. In addition, it has also been identified that a character takes the responsibility and other associated risks considerably at higher than the usual rate at the industry. The underlying technique of a freight cause the increase in the freight rates in the strong market as well as reduce abruptly in the particular market, where the demand is comparatively low.

Benchmark Analysis of the Shipping Organizations in Shipping Industry

Freight rates

Figure 2: Freight rates

(Source: Sampson 2013)

On the contrary, it is examined that the structure of the market could cause persistent changes in the freight rate for particular reasons. Firstly, for the case of sudden change of demand both in short-term and long-term, the industry responds to the change immediately. Moreover, there have been two significant factors based on which the freight rates may increase or decrease. One of the factors is the demand, which is restored by replacing the sudden shock. Conversely, it can also be added that the supply could decrease from the scrapping effort. In addition, the tanker market remains strong because of the delay caused by time lag between order as well as delivery. Additionally, if the situation of unexpected decrease of supply chain occurs caused by political issues like war, strikes and international regulations, the rate of the freight may increase by the decreased tonnage (Panayides, Lambertides and Cullinane 2013).

Costs: The costs associated with the vessels do not usually affect freight rates as different forces of the market determine the rates, which is further based on the balance between the supply and demand. Notwithstanding, the annual report of Ardmore Shipping Corporation provides the overview of the market forces that affect the freight rates. It is observed that costs indirectly influence the supply of the tanker in both short and long-term. As commented by Vaughan et al. (2013), the nature of high profitability that comes from the cost attracts shipbuilding and the supply of the tanker increases whereas the low profitability from high cost increases the lay-up; as the result the supply of the tanker decreases. Subsequently, owners of the vessel reluctantly run their vessels below the break-even cost. It has also been identified that the owners such as the Ardmore Shipping Corporation of the vessel do not run the vessels below cost of voyage. Thus, the costs are divided into three different categories.

Voyage costs: The costs of the variables are incurred by performing particular voyage, fuel cost, port charges and additional expense.

Operating cost: The fixed costs are associated with the operation of a vessel, repairs and maintenance, mining and insurance premium.

Significant factors influencing the industry

“Cyclical and volatile nature of charter industry in respect to charter rates and profitability affecting the industry operation”

It has been identified that the tanker industry has become both cyclical as well as dynamic in respect to charter rates as well as the profitability. Additionally, a continuous downturn in the tanker sector may adversely influence the ability of Ardmore to re-charter to its vessels. Sometimes, due to this adverse impact, the organizations in the tanker industry end up selling the vessels on expiration of the charters. Moreover, the rates payable in terms of its vessel would not be sufficient or appropriate for the company to run all the vessels profitably. On the contrary, the fluctuation in charter rates as well as the tanker values could result from the changes that occurred in the supply chain and increasing demand for tanker capacity. As argued by Shi (2014), the factors influencing the supply chain and demand are not under control. Likewise, the timing and the degree of change in the sector conditions are also unpredictable.

Some significant factors affecting the demand for tanker capacity may include the followings:

  • Supply and demand of oil, chemical and oil products
  • Regional availability of refining the capacity
  • Political conditions, internal and regional demand

As mentioned by Sampson (2013) shipping is considered as the lifeblood of the internal economy. Thus, more than 80% of the world goods are observed to be carried by the ship. On the contrary, United Stated, the largest trading country in the world tends to use the sea cargo to move about 90% of its export freights. As argued by Armstrong (2013), the international activities are changing as well as the shipping industry is dealing with some structural change and modification. This results to dramatic shift in global manufacturing as well as trading. The industry and the market places have become global as well as the production is located everywhere across the market. For example, China is world’s largest manufacturer; likewise, Indian and other Asian countries have been following the same economic model. Furthermore, the major shipping lines that were primarily concentrated on East and West routes linked to the major three poles of the globe economy.  This new design of the world trade makes a compulsory need for a highly integrated system. Thus, it can be mentioned that the shipping business environment is becoming more instable and the competition is rapidly increasing. Conversely, the profit margin is falling down, the desired service quality is increasing, and the demand is becoming more uncertain. In this particular context, Armstrong (2013) has commented that shipping lines should build and execute the winning strategies to increase the revenue, the profit margin and the growth.

Demand: It is observed that demand is sustained by slow fleet growth as well as the ongoing positive refinery margin. Thus, the earning of the competitors of Ardmore Shipping Corporation was up from a years back. However, the overall earnings were less in the year 2014. Likewise, the minor crude oil carriers were also less in 2015. Furthermore, for the oil product tankers Q3-2015 appears as the peak quarter of the current cycle. The same patterns of slightly decreasing freight rates are observed to be reappeared in time charter market. Drobetz et al. (2013) commented back in January adding some capacity aware on time charter. In this context, Aguado, Alvarez and Domingo (2013) commented that volatile oil price could strengthen the oil tanker market than the market where the oil price is stable.

The laws and the regulations imposed by the government significantly affecting the organizations and their operations of tankers. The organizations in tanker industry are subject to global conventions, national, state as well as the local laws in force in the domains or the countries where its vessels could operate. Thus, the compliance with such regulations and other regulations entails significant expense. This also may include the vessel modification as well as the execution of particular operating procedures. On the contrary, it has also been identified that a variety of governmental as well as the quasi-governmental and other private organizations are subject to both planned and unplanned observations. The company has the firm belief that the heightened ranges of environmental as well as quality concerns financial institutions, regulators and charters leads to the increasing observation and safety requirements on all vessels. In addition, this could accelerate the scrapping of older vessels across the tanker industry. As commented by Cahoon, Pateman and Chen (2013), the environmental demands have created an increasing demand for tankers that comply with the environmental standards that are established to increase in stringency. Subsequently, the organizations in the tanker industry are required to follow and maintain the operation standards for all of its vessels that mainly focus on the operational safety and quality maintenance along with persistent training of the employees such as officers and crews to comply with the local and international regulations.

U.S regulations- The United State Oil pollution act of 1990, established an extensive regulatory as well as the liability regime for the protection and cleanup of the environmental from oil spills (Ostreng et al. 2013). The Oil Pollution Acts that developed for protecting the environment are affecting the owners or the operations that run trade with their vessels in United State. In addition, it has also been identified that under the oil pollution laws, the owners of the vessels, operators are bound to take the responsibility of clean-up expense and other related harm or damages arriving from the discharge of oil spills. The laws against oil pollution define other damages widely include the injury to loss, destruction and the natural damage and assessment costs. The regulations include the injury to financial damage results from personal and property damage.

Furthermore, it has also been identified that these regulations usually contain statutory caps on the liability as well as the damage. However, such caps are usually not applied to the direct clean-up cost. Eventually, it can also be added that all these regulations have large impact on the organizations. In spite of the demand of the services, the organization sometimes cannot provide the delivery of services, as the regulations do not permit the operations that have impact on environment. Moreover, in United States, the demands of the services are comparatively high; thereby, the shipping organizations mainly focus on the U.S markets. On the contrary, changes in the political environment also affect the shipping operations. This is evident that political instability results to change in the regulations.

It is evident that shipping has become world’s most capital-intensive industries because of the high cost of purchasing a ship. For example, a “super post Panamax vessel” of 8000 TEU costs US$120 million (Ostreng et al. 2013). Therefore, it can be added that a shipping organization has to make a large investment that often accounts for half of the overall cost to operate a new large ship. Conversely, the used ones or the second-hand ships are less comparatively less costly to purchase and operate. Therefore, the company has to pay lower capital cost. However, these second-hand ships lack varieties in the industry.  Thus, in order to achieve the range of efficiency, the shipping organizations could require different ship sizes for different trade routes. Subsequently, while making the investment decision, two significant questions faced by the organizations like whether the company purchases a second-half one or new one. One more significant aspect is the right size of the purchase.

From the perspective ship owner or the organization, it can be added that the major investment decision revolves around whether to invest at certain market conditions in order to satisfy the market trends or deter the new entrants or the compete with the rivals in the industry. Focussing on the motivation behind the decisions, while the investment decision is made, the next aspect is to consider buying a new ship or a second-hand vessel. The last decision revolves around the specific type of the ships.

 Investment decision model

Figure 3: Investment decision model

(Source: Ostreng et al. 2013)

It has been considered that there is no strategic behaviour in ship investment. Thus, the fundamental reason for shipping organization to increase its capacity is to meet the increasing demands of the market. Notwithstanding, sailing fast is expensive as there is a particular limit on how fast a ship could sail. Thereby, it can be added that decision regarding the investment on the capacity expansion relies on the demand as well as existing capacity as well as the impact of speed on cost. In addition to this, it can also be added that the competition of strategic behaviour could add another dimension to the complicated decision-making process for the capital investment of ships. In this context, Aguado, Alvarez and Doming (2013) commented that shipping organizations with different market power have different strategies to deal with the dynamic market structure. Thus, the large organizations like Ardmore Shipping invest excessive capacity to deal with or prevent the newcomers or to expel the existing organizations.

Conclusion

On the completion of the report, it can be mentioned that organizations in the shipping industry have to deal with long-term large operations. Therefore, it is necessary for the organizations to pay serious attention to the dynamic scenario of the market. The business environment in shipping industry is constantly changing which is influenced by the demand and supply of the products. In addition, some potential risks are also associated with the operations as the shipping corporations tend to make large investment in purchasing the ships. Thus, if the demand of the services decreases, the organizations have to suffer from long-term recession, which could result in selling of the ships. 

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