Overview - Container Supply Chain Conference

The Container Supply Chain Conference is one of two conference tracks at TOC Asia. Paying delegates can attend this conference.

NEW TRADE DYNAMICS: DIGITALIZATION & DISRUPTION

Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of shipping’s most turbulent era?

2017 & 2018 has bought with it a welcome return to global demand growth according to recent analysis from Drewry, with strong cargo growth rising to the 4% mark compared to the capacity increase for the industry of around 3%.  With supply and demand continuing to edge closer together, the liner industry is now returning to the profits that it saw before the financial crash of 2008.

An industry that has experienced nearly 10 years of sluggish cargo demand, continued over-supply of trade capacity and freight rates falling to historic lows can now look ahead with renewed optimism.

However, there are still a number of risk factors which remain – rising trade protectionism and geopolitical tensions are at the
forefront of the global agenda - and possess the real ability to derail any shift in fortune for the industry.

Returning to Singapore for the fifth year in a row, TOC Events is ensuring that this important 2-track conference and exhibition
continues to base itself in one of the world’s most important transhipment hubs; and it is an honour for TOC Asia to continue its partnership with Singapore Maritime Week in 2018.

Conference Session Highlights

Historically, container carriers attempted to increase productivity by increasing capacity -leading to fleets of underutilised mega-vessels. But as the age of the 4th Industrial Revolution gathers pace, it is the big data explosion that is allowing the industry to take a huge leap forward in gathering, analyzing, and distributing data that can be turned into information to enable the integrated management of activities across the supply chain.

Container shipping invented the digitalization of the seas; but to date has barely exploited the huge volume of data that it daily collects and transmits.

Now the industry needs to embrace digitalization and innovation more than ever.

Following the successful launch of the BBSC Debate in 2017, TOC will once again will continue to dedicate the first day of the Container Supply Chain conference track to discussing the issue of Digitalization and Disruption, from the viewpoint of the major players in the supply chain. One panel will feature Shippers, and the following panel
discussion will be made up of the rest of the supply chain, shipping lines, 3pls ports / terminals. This super-session will culminate in a high-level roundtable debate with all the day’s speakers brought back for in-depth Q&A.

The global trading landscape sits on the cusp of a new dynamic, one that carries significant risks for the near-term future of container shipping and handling. World trade faces an uncertain outlook as economic nationalism takes
hold in some of the richest countries on earth. 

The liner shipping market has undergone the most dramatic restructuring in its history - with the introduction of Ocean Alliance and the well-documented mergers (CMA CGM acquiring APL, Maersk Line acquiring Hamburg Süd,
Cosco acquiring OOCL) resulting in market consolidation. In 2005, the top seven ocean carriers shared approximately one third of the world’s fleet and in 4 years’ time, it is estimated the same bracket of carriers will control more than two thirds.

This is an astronomical rise and this “super cycle” of consolidation has “changed the playing field” for shippers according to Drewry, as they adapt to the new market which has left them with much less choice than before.

But what implications will the standout issues of 2018’s economic, political and trading landscape have for container supply chain operations worldwide?

The new
maritime superpower base will with no doubt shift to Asia and the Middle East as its share of container trade is set to increase to 80% in the near future. 

Heavily influencing this fundamental shift in the traditional supply chain paradigm will be China’s One Belt One Road concept where rail becomes a real option for long range freight transport. OBOR encompasses 60 countries and links China to Europe through ports, highways, bridges, tunnels, communications grids, and rail links and has already received up to $1trillion in heavy investments and this will continue to rise over the next decade.

Although not directly along OBOR’s trade routes, the Middle East region has high economic investments in China’s planned economic corridor and have much to gain.

Not able to yet offer the economies of scale that container shipping can handle, the OBOR initiative will (and to some extent is starting to) offer serious competition to container shipping cheaply and quickly. How will these new trade corridors and clusters reshape the status quo and how can investors, operators and technology suppliers take advantage?

OBOR of course has major geopolitical ramifications and the huge scheme continues to excite a mixed response both inside and outside China. 

Economic growth forecasts remain positive for the region as a whole. Although the World Bank cut growth forecasts for several countries in Southeast Asia including Myanmar and the Philippines, it did raise forecasts for major
economies in the region including Malaysia and Thailand. In its latest East Asia and Pacific Economic Update report, it was stated “The economic outlook for the region remains positive and will benefit from an improved external
environment as well as strong domestic demand”.

The port stands today – some would say taken for granted as economic engines – fighting in a ferociously competitive market for cargo. The continued alliance structure, consolidation and escalating vessel capacity means the carrier is now the kingmaker with absolute power to decide on which ports they visit and more importantly which ones they overlook.

To support competitiveness in the global economy, it is essential that ports and terminals expand, upgrade, modernize and maintain transportation infrastructure.


Confirmed speakers from companies:

Focus will be on:

Other Track: Terminal Operations