Clear communication and consolidation were the evident themes to emerge from the mid-afternoon sessions on the opening day of Cool Logistics Global (29 September).
Focusing on trade trends and refrigerated maritime transport, delegates heard the fate of the shipping industry is far from dire, with innovation and cooperation continuing to deliver new opportunities.
Presenting on the 2016 container shipping outlook, Alexis Michel, CMA CGM’s group logistics and reefer vice president, highlighted how the emergence of super partnerships such as the G6 and Ocean Three alliances have assisted in keeping companies afloat.
“Shipping lines are reorganising themselves. There are less and less stand-alone companies, with more and more alliances being formed,” Michel said. “Although these alliances do not cover all trades, they are overwhelmingly present in the largest trades.”
While alliances are helping shipping companies navigate through challenging times for their industry, the benefits are not necessarily being felt throughout the entire supply chain.
Nigel Jenney from UK-based Fresh Produce Consortium spoke about the need for fresh produce suppliers and shipping companies to work more closely together to enhance value for all stakeholders.
“There’s a real opportunity to provide better service if we engage in more direct communication.” Jenney said.
“Our company is looking for the most efficient, total least cost solution to shipping fresh produce,” Jenney added later in the session. “I encourage everyone here today to look at your product portfolio and where your businesses are at. Please don’t ignore the opportunity to evaluate and change your business model if need be.”
Following Jenney’s presentation, Phillip Damas, director –supply chain advisors at Drewry, highlighted the development of a clear trend towards container shipping within the perishable foods sector.
“Today around 23 per cent of perishables are handled by specialised refer ships and this will drop to around 18 per cent over the coming years as container shipping becomes more and more viable and efficient.”