There are many Steves, Alans, Pauls, and Steens, but there is only one Otto. Ask those who have worked or interacted with Otto Schacht, the longtime head of seafreight at Küehne + Nagel, and they will describe a friend, mentor, confidant, and unparalleled authority on the container shipping industry. During more than 25 years leading the world’s largest ocean freight forwarder — where he helped build a globally respected brand — following 20 years at Hapag-Lloyd, Otto has been a power broker in the industry’s inner sanctum during periods of calm and tumult. He has had a uniquely insider’s view of the industry and all its inner workings that he rarely shares publicly. Now, as he transitions into semiretirement, he has kindly agreed to a one-on-one sit-down at TPM24, where he will look back and forward, take stock and offer guidance, and take your questions as the industry heads into a new post-COVID era.
In his late-November newsletter, consultant Jon Monroe says “BCOs have a lot to think about and plan for, to get ready for 2024. There are so many underlying obstacles or potential headwinds that will need to be addressed.” Among those are the possibility of the market unexpectedly tightening — despite the prevailing narrative of overcapacity and the failure of multiple carrier GRI attempts in 2023 — and how BCOs should plan for what might seem like a remote possibility. “Looking ahead to 2024, there is a concern: if carriers choose to tighten capacity with the same intensity as witnessed in 2020, the market may once again grapple with soaring rates and constrained vessel space,” he wrote to subscribers. Industry stakeholders listen to Jon because he is the rare individual in shipping today who brings to the table the full gamut of experience and the willingness and ability to expound publicly and articulately in ways that are highly relevant to BCOs and other market participants. In a career stretching back to United States Lines, he logged time with a variety of organizations, including Circle International, Emery Worldwide, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Top Ocean, DeWell, and Transfar Shipping. In addition, he has built significant BCO technology platforms that are in use today. In a late-2023 market that looks deceptively similar coming out of COVID versus how it entered it, the reality is it’s a new world that requires players across the spectrum to reorient themselves anew. To do that. it’s worth spending time with Jon, who will bring his perspective to the TPM24 audience as one of the rare individuals who can provide the informed straight talk that market participants will find certain value in.
When Maersk in 2016 set off down the road of integrating traditional shipping and logistics services into an end-to-end offering — something that had never been tried let alone accomplished before — many wondered how it could successfully weave together multiple services to create genuine value for customers’ supply chains. An answer to that question comes from its relationship with Castlery, a fast-growing Singapore-based direct-to-consumer furniture retailer that designs and produces stylish, modern furniture. Castlery launched retail operations in the US in 2019 and became a Top 30 Home Furnishing website in the US in 2023. It is using almost all types of logistics services provided by Maersk, and is currently exploring a flexible warehousing model to support further geographic expansion in the US market. With Maersk, Castlery has developed an increasingly deeper strategic partnership over the past six years. “As our business becomes more global, we are able to tap on Maersk's global scale and high-quality integrated logistics services, and have benefited tremendously in our growth,” the company said. This case study will illustrate the benefits from a retailer’s perspective of leveraging an integrated service that incorporates ocean together with multiple other services.