Asia Europe Trade Lane Industry Leaders Debate Ports, Logistics and Shippingby Mark Millar on 2012-11-14 23:59:27
Hong Kong: NOVEMBER 2012 : At the heart of world trade, senior executives from the world's leading shipping lines, cargo owners and logistics companies recently gathered for a Maritime Leadership Forum in Hong Kong to explore challenges and opportunities on one of the world's largest trade routes, Asia-Europe.
Convened by Mark Millar, managing partner of M Power Associates and sponsored by DP World London Gateway, the forum gathered industry thought-leaders for an exclusive dinner event in the historic Gun Room at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
The select group of over 30 senior executives included cross-sector representation from major cargo owners, forwarders and carriers such as DB Schenker, DHL, Hapag-Lloyd, Home Retail Group Asia, "K" Line, Kingfisher Sourcing, Kuehne + Nagel, Maersk, MOL, OOCL and Pentland Asia, as well as several other industry leaders.
The participating freight forwarders and beneficial cargo owners together represented over 500,000 TEU on the Asia-UK trade, which provided all attendees with an excellent insight into industry challenges facing global leaders.
Guests enjoyed presentations from eminent speakers, followed by knowledge sharing and open discussions exploring the key trends, developments and challenges facing companies involved in Asia Europe trade, which is undergoing massive change as ships dramatically increase in size.
In a presentation entitled Navigating Stormy Waters, leading industry analyst Dr Jonathan Beard articulated “with weakness in all short-term leading indicators, compounded by economic and political uncertainty within the Eurozone, we expect to see weak container volume growth on Asia Europe trades through both 2012 and 2013. The softness in the market represents additional challenges for the container port sector, coinciding with the need for facility upgrades and dredging in order to accommodate the larger vessels.”
The ensuing discussion considered key issues such as capacity utilisation, supply chain optimisation, environmental protection and industry stabilisation.
Simon Moore CEO of the DP World’s USD2.5bn investment into the UK at London Gateway, explained how supply chain leaders in Asia will soon reduce their costs by shipping closer to the point of the consumption in the UK. Mr Moore said: “London Gateway enables global shippers to reduce costs from supply chains. London Gateway Port is closer to key UK markets such as the Midlands, the North and the South-East and so inland road haulage will be much cheaper. London Gateway will save UK and Asian based supply chains hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Shippers who are looking to reduce costs in 2013 are now talking to shipping lines to lock in savings before London Gateway, Britain’s new deep-sea port, opens in Q4 2013”.
Representing cargo owners and exporters, Sunny Ho, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Shippers' Council, commented "Shippers share the view presented by some carriers that the high volatility of freight rate is damaging. Indeed, the adverse impact of slow steaming has often been understated. Shorter transit time means less inventories, lower capital cost and faster response to market".
Reflecting on the gathering, industry thought-leader Mark Millar commented: “It was a privilege to convene this gathering of maritime industry leaders, enabling a neutral and convivial platform through which to explore the critical challenges and opportunities on the Asia Europe trade. Based on the enthusiastic feedback from the participants, I plan to formalise this Asia Maritime Leadership group as a quarterly forum through 2013 and beyond.”
Asia: Mark Millar, Managing Partner, M Power Associates, Hong Kong
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