Conference Overview



Over the past 10 years, we have seen dramatic shipping industry consolidation and vessel upsizing, to continued global economic, financial, political and trade volatility, the colossal Belt and Road initiative and the upswing in regulations around environmental protection, the maritime supply chain is being buffeted from many directions.

And as we enter a new decade, the industry continues to navigate and adapt to considerable challenges that have the potential to radically affect the shipping and maritime actors from across the supply chain. 2020 brings with it the continuation of the Trade War between China and USA, the implementation of the IMO 2020 Sulphur cap and possibly the greatest challenge and opportunity ahead which is new technology, both as an enabler and a disruptor, shaking up the status quo of international trade, supply chain, logistics, transport and port operations across the globe.

For over 40 years, TOC Events has provided trusted forums for executives across the global ports, terminals, shipping and maritime logistics sector to network, learn and debate the big issues of the day. And over the past few years, there have been some very big issues to discuss.

A new decade dawns and presents additional and rigorous challenges for the industry. The slowing global economy and the escalation of the trade war poses a major threat to global seaborne trade.

This trade war has been consistent in its rhetoric. So far, billions of dollars have been placed on Chinese goods in the US and this has been met with equally robust tariffs being placed on American goods in China. Speculation has been feverish throughout this process. Periods of relative calm are suddenly followed by a sudden ratcheting up of tensions. The latest being 10% tariffs being announced by President Trump - or equivalent of $300 billion of goods - was the fourth round of tariffs implemented by the United States in the ongoing Trade War. One expects for China to react accordingly.

As of the end of 2019, the impact of tariffs has been minimal and global volume has in fact gone up 2% for the first half of 2019 but key stakeholders in the supply chain continue to scramble to ensure that their supply chains remain uninterrupted and they can source their needed materials. But when a sudden 25% jump in value is placed on these goods, this has a major impact on the overheads for many organisations.

In Maersk’s latest statement, Søren Skou expressed concern for the industry should there continue to be any further escalation in the Trade War battle and this feeling is expressed by many others who fear that the global economy could slow further and damage an already fragile sector. 

China and USA continue to negotiate and in the latest G7 Summit, there seemed to be some rapprochement from both sides. But the industry can only watch to see how the outcome of ongoing negotiations between the Super Powers conclude or the Presidents twitter account which on occasions has provided invaluable insight into American Economic and Trade policy.

Latest IMF forecasts show that advanced economies are faring better than expected whilst emerging economies are starting to suffer. Hopeful for a quick conclusion, the effects will be still be felt in 2020 as supply chains adapt and adjust.

Since the turn of the millennium, the Shipping sector has had to meet higher and higher standards in air pollution as part of wider worldwide environmental objectives but 2020 will prove to be a critical year as the IMO’s strengthened regulations on air pollution take effect.

The IMO 2020 regulations have not come as a shock for the industry. They were announced in 2016 and especially over the past year, there has been a rush from lines to ensure that they are compliant. Whether it be the installation of “scrubbers” or completely ditching fossil fuels for cleaner alternatives – there is no doubt that this changeover will be very expensive.

Aside from the financial ramifications for supply chains, it will have a chaotic impact the movement of goods in the first few months in 2020 as stakeholders adjust to the new regulations.

The IMO 2020 regulations take effect only on January 1st and presents an intimidating challenging that will have ripple effects across the whole of the shipping industry as carriers will find themselves having to take on (and look to pass on) an anticipated $15 billion increase in industry annual costs. Every single actor in the supply chain will be aware of this and eager to avoid these costs being passed onto them and making sure that they continue to be able to provide the efficient and reliable service.

Global trade and the shipping and maritime sector always have been and will forever be intrinsically linked. Both growth and declines in global trade levels have been shared over the decades by the maritime sector, but this is of course understandable when you consider that an astounding $16 trillion worth of goods is transported across border per year and 80% of these are carried by container ships.

Despite this numbers, global trade is highly inefficient and burdened by paper-based processes, data is trapped in organizational silos, burdened by high costs and this impacts on poor customer services. Conservative estimates predict that if barriers were removed from the international supply chain, global trade could increase by 15%.

Technology is breaking down old walls, reshaping business roles and relationships and redefining consumer expectations at ever-increasing speed.

What we are witnessing is the new era of global supply chains. A supply chain where all parties can collaborate, share data, and realize the benefits of digitization. This could even be the creation of an ecosystem that drives, shares and fosters collaboration and trust being the major stakeholders.

Including keynote address from Ronald Widdows, Chairman, World Shipping Council & Tan Chong Meng, Group CEO, PSA International Pte Ltd, sessions at TOC Asia 2020 include:

  • The Business, Container & Trade Outlook Forum 2020
  • The Ocean Shipping Outlook
  • The New Technology & Digital Landscape
  • The Ethical Enterprise: People, Governance & Sustainability in Supply Chains
  • The Next Generation Port

To discuss sponsorship contact:

To participate as a delegate contact:

Leonard Field
Commercial Director

Tel: +44 (0)20 7017 4661 
 Email Leonard
 Connect with Leonard

Vinay Sud
Event & Conference Sales Executive

Tel: +44 (0)20 7017 4352
 Email Vinay

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