New Era, Same Old Fundamentals
It’s shape-up time for shipping industry players.
Figures released by Container Trades Statistics indicate that global volume growth in the container shipping industry was largely stagnant at 1.3% for the first half of 2019 compared to 4.5% at the halfway mark last year. The reality of falling demand and the decline of containership supply do not seem aligned with the positive outlook about which the shipping industry observers and analysts had been hopeful.
Vessel operators too continue to face the mounting pressure of having to reckon with high costs and risks in these increasingly volatile economic and geopolitical times.
“Looking forward to 2019-2020, the carriers still face challenging conditions, although the nature of the challenges will be changing — some gradually, and some more acutely,”
cautions Lloyd’s List.
Do these eventualities signal a new era in global shipping?
The game-changer seems to hark back to good old-fashioned ‘survival of the fittest’.
Since the dawn of business, the most resilient companies have always been the best to observe the environment, then adapt and evolve with change. Similarly, shipping industry players must constantly relook and reinvent themselves to remain relevant. For the mostly traditional shipping industry that has been comparatively stagnant in adopting new technologies in operations, the digital revolution can be a shock to the system for the uninitiated. Companies that are slow to keep up with technological advancements face intense pressure just to keep up with the ever rising demands of their more-digitally-evolved customers and partners in the supply chain.
As BCG puts it,
“Innovative players are speedily bypassing traditional shippers with new and efficient digital business platforms that deliver more benefits to customers. Indeed, digital isn’t just a nice-to-have philosophy: it’s the very key to survival, and serves as the launch point for transformational turnaround.”
Leaders must be open to redesigning their business models and processes to keep up with their customers, employees and partners in order to enjoy a competitive edge in the rapidly advancing economy.
To keep pace, today’s maritime players must keep a discerning eye out for technology that provides visibility, and facilitates collaboration and data sharing for greater productivity and overall customer service levels. Only then will they be able to reach above the disruption, above the symptomatic and patchy fixes that waste valuable resources, toward a new era of sustainable profitability, growth, innovation. And smoother sailing.