To create value for beneficial cargo owners — BCOs, including retailers, manufacturers, consumer product companies, traders, energy, agribusiness and other major shipper organizations — through an intensive three-day program addressing key operational, pricing, and strategic challenges shippers face when relying on end-to-end container shipping services to support their supply chains and overall business objectives.
THEME: A NEW WORLD TAKES SHAPE
Following unprecedented consolidation over the past two year, container shipping's new world order is starting to come into focus. Supply chain disruption, whether resulting from alliance changes or port labor disruption, seems likely to recede in the trans-Pacific trade while momentum is building to solve longstanding, costly problems through technology. The industry is entering a hyper-phase of problem solving, technological innovation, and product differentiation, but which technologies will prove game-changing is still an open question.
If 2017 was about the realignment of alliances, carrier consolidation and improving global economy, 2018 will be the year when the focus returns to eliminating costs and creating new revenue streams through innovation and technology. But the legacy issues will not disappear: Despite a stronger global economy, 2018 will be a year that tests carriers' discipline, as declining shipbuilding prices and rising volume tempt them to order mega vessels after a two-year hiatus in big-ship ordering, as we saw from MSC and CMA CGM late in 2017.
But until carriers order new mega-vessels on a larger, industry-wide scale, which has not yet happened, the market is likely to continue to shift gradually in carriers' favor, meaning shippers will face higher costs that force them to find savings elsewhere. Maersk Group CEO Soren Skou told investors on Aug. 16 that the world's largest ocean carrier is seeing "the strongest fundamentals for container shipping" since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2010. As evidence, he said that even as the idle fleet dwindled to a mere 2 percent of total capacity, rates on average still were up more than 20 percent versus August 2016 (prior to softening in the fall).
It's unclear if the consolidation from 16 to nine major east-west carriers by itself will translate into sustained higher rates, as Economics 101 would dictate, many having for years watched carriers sabotage themselves would be skeptical. But the environment on pricing is turning more uncertain for BCOs nonetheless, especially when the very tight trucking and airfreight markets are considered, which will only intensify the industry's focus on eliminating cost. Cost represents both money flowing out the door and demands on time, and there is growing attention on both. Technology has paper documentation and spreadsheets - still widely used throughout the industry - in its crosshairs. Cloud solutions that eliminate repetitive tasks, phone calls, emails, and spreadsheets are proving they can slash the time shippers spend on regular tasks from hours to minutes, freeing up resources for other priorities. Artificial intelligence and smart chassis are helping shippers reduce charges related to trucker delays while matching warehouse labor to arriving container loads. Blockchain seems more than just a passing fad, holding out the promise of reducing the often costly role of financial institutions in container trade. Data-driven match-backing allows carriers to increase their backhaul volume and helps US exporters manage volatile equipment-repositioning costs.
In short, the industry is at a turning point, moving away from the bricks-and-mortar issues that have consumed it over the past 20 years and moving toward a period when the race to use technology to reduce costs, open new revenue opportunities, and become as efficient as possible will only intensify. These issues, and more — big-picture economic forecasts; one-on-one Q&As with today's most influential industry leaders; deep-dive, sector-specific supply chain analysis; and shipper-based case studies — are just some of the reasons TPM will be a must-attend event in 2018.
- Technology and Automation
- Market Outlook and Trends
- Exporting From the US
- Longshore Labor
- Port Productivity and Efficiency
- Port Infrastructure
- Sector-Specific Analysis
- Industrial Real Estate
- Cold Chain Logistics
- Industry Workshops
- Shipper Case Studies
- Ted-Style Talks
TOPICS TO BE EXPLORED:
- Economic and Market Trends
- Mergers, Acquisitions, and Alliances
- Digital Innovation and problem solving
- US Exporters' Challenges and Solutions
- Longshore Labor: A Lasting Peace?
- Industrial Real Estate: Fulfilling Explosive Demand
- Cargo Efficiency and Flow
- The Evolving North American Drayage Market
- Cold Chain Outlook and Trends
- Industry Workshops
- Shipper Case Studies