The 2018 JOC Container Trade Europe Conference will deliver answers for users of container shipping services including retailers, manufacturers, consumer products, energy, agribusiness and other European customers by analyzing major trends in intercontinental container shipping supply, demand and capacity, and exploring and illustrating strategic and innovative opportunities to improve transit times and reliability, and reduce costs, whether through technology/digitization or operational and planning initiatives.
THEME: MANAGING SUPPLY CHAIN CHOKE POINTS AMID A TIGHTENING MARKET
The European containerized freight transportation network in 2018 faces new and stubborn legacy challenges on multiple fronts, with growth in cargo volumes due to a rebounding European economy, exerting newfound stress on the system and leaving it in more precarious condition than in recent years. Challenges this year include finding ways to improve overwhelmed barge operations and terminal handling capabilities, manage throughput at Europe’s choked gateway airports, make more effective use of inadequate rail freight, and effectively leverage trucking between ports and inland locations. All of this needs to be addressed as cargo volumes grow in response to a newly energized European economy. Asia-to-Europe and Asia-Mediterranean container volume will rise 4.5 percent this year following similar growth in 2017, according to IHS Markit forecasts released late last year. The International Air Transport Association is predicting 6 percent growth in Europe’s overall air cargo volume this year, versus nearly 12 percent in 2017.
Although that’s good news for long-struggling EU economies, Europe’s overstretched logistics system is increasingly struggling to handle the growing freight volumes whether on land, sea, or air. After spending years in a market downturn with surplus capacity across transportation modes, shippers, forwarders, carriers, and intermodal service providers in Europe now for the first time in years must navigate a demand-driven environment defined by tighter space, higher freight rates, and greater risk of unanticipated delays. In addition to the operational issues facing the European supply chain, container shipping itself is at a turning point. The mega-merger activity that transformed the industry in 2016-2017 has taken a pause, leaving the top 15 carriers controlling more than 85 percent of global capacity, and the top seven controlling more than 80 percent, according to Alphaliner. The mergers have translated into greater economies of scale, higher freight rates on the Asia-Europe trade, and a long-awaited return to profitability for carriers in 2017, which looks to continue this year. Spot rates from Asia to North Europe as measured by the SCFI index were up 32 percent in the first month of 2018.
Shippers unimpressed by their growing lack of carrier choice can take solace in the growing focus of shipping lines and technology partners on investing in digital platforms aimed at simplifying the cumbersome process involved in shipping a container from beginning to end. Technology solutions like blockchain that hold out the promise to eliminate repetitive tasks, phone calls, emails, and spreadsheets, and that improve visibility and invoicing, soon could be available to the market on a global scale. The longstanding problem of visibility could be further resolved through blockchain as well as IoT devices like container sensors finally beginning to become affordable for non-reefer cargo. With a program dedicated to the needs of shippers operating in Europe, the Container Trade Europe program will cut to the chase, obtaining straight answers to key questions shippers have regarding their container shipping tactics and strategies.
With a stronger economy driving up demand, how does container shipping supply and demand look as shippers, forwarders and carriers prepare for 2019?
Technology and Innovation:
The TPM Tech Jam is coming to Europe! What are the worst pain points suffered by shippers moving containerized goods in and out of Europe and what can technology do to help?
Having grown rapidly and matured into an integral link between Asia and Europe, growing pains are appearing. For example, once arriving in Europe, the trains enter a network that is not equipped to handle such high volume of rail traffic.
The resurgent European economy is exerting hugh pressure on capacity-constrained ports, airports, railways, and inland waterways.
Forwarder-driven, best practices discussion around supply chain challenges in the forest products, pharmaceuticals, recyclables, refrigerated goods and other industries.
Shipper-Led Case Studies:
We will present specific examples of how shippers and their logistics, technology and transportation providers are working together to overcome specific problems and challenges.