Last year was very difficult. Let’s begin like Scott Peck started his famous book “The road less travelled”.
2020 was indeed very difficult. Pandemic together with political turmoil, climate extremes deformed our lives, economies and our future too.
There was a saying that “I trust everyone. It is the evil (virus) inside them I don’t trust” then with Covid fear, people is evil to people.
Bridges, borders, stations, schools…were closed; handshake, hugging and many other social but civilized gestures suddenly became taboo. Sad streets, quiet CBD, empty flights are norm for most of the year; labors are laid down, businesses closed, trillions washed away from trading floors while trillions were pumped to stimulus or rescue and many economies need decades to recover. And millions people died…
It was so burdensome to board on an empty airplane or queue lonely in quiet airports.
Quarantines, 14 days on each borders, were very meaningful and unforgettable. Musing, expecting, reading, guessing…and burst into cheerful tears on some memorial events on our journey to Freedom and Dignity.
My special thanks to healthcare force on the frontline against pandemic and extreme gratitude to scientists for their vaccines saving the mankind. I also feel privileged to be allowed to travel between countries and quarantines during the pandemic and so graceful to those who have made my trips being successes of life.
This pandemic has turned human beings into a pack of quiet, nervous and desperate lambs those are blind to tomorrow and what to come next or to whom next. In fact, we have been naïve arrogance and bias perspective for multi million years, then this pandemic is a prompt to our awareness on this issue. The only thing one can be certain is the uncertainty.
2020 has placed our business in an acid test.
We were not right timing, particularly with a new investment, office and building for lease. The Mekong, our new entity, with her projects next to airport and the CBD have very low occupant rate, from a potential hero suddenly becomes a zero. Take it for granted when the trend was not our friend. Good point is that recently the rate has increased and hopefully will be much better in the coming months.
The Soft departments also set back when consumption is just hand to mouth globally.
Cafeterias and restaurants are closed leading to coffee consumption to minimum. Land and air transportation stopped therefore demand for tire, natural rubber vanished. Swan flu erased most pig farms, bush fire burnt out vast areas living no shipment of MBM filled. No party, no picnic, no gatherings and so no appetite for cashew nuts nor starch….
It was also first time in the history price of a commodities, a very strategic important one, crude oil dropped below 0 (in fact crude oil was traded at minus 43usd/barrel). No one wanted to possess and it is very costly to carry them.
Offices were closed worldwide and working at home is not the environment of a Soft trader where charts running with green or red ticks, phone rings and orders shouting.
Market sounds like Siren of Mermaid and Traders, even experienced and brave like Odyssey might still miss sail and we indeed have made some mistakes. Only being very disciplined and experienced, especially with our diversified organization and swift like knee jerk reaction, we have passed that troubled water and navigated back to the route.
And here the bright side of life, the story of our Dreadnought, our Logistic department – An Ace in pandemic year. While the world’s logistic chain is broken, people dared not to show out, most of the facilities closed, our Logistic team dedicatedly handle all consignments, connect and expand customer list. End of the year, hundred thousand tons of cargo have been taken care of faultlessly and produced a wonderful income to neutralize this awful year.
In a year, when all struggled to survive, we are not exceptional. Diversification is a plus and a minus of a dice. It may not be a missile to orbit us yet, it may even drag us down sometimes like parachute. But once we choose to develop basing on a well balanced, futurist and manageable approach, as a fleet, not a canoe, we will keep navigating like that; like Amerigo Vespucci’s belief and knowledge on the voyage to discover new Continental.
Thank you and Happy New Year!