The ocean container shipping is now sailing through uncharted waters, with shipping line and terminal mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies and alliance restructuring, and declining revenue and profitability. Terminals are investing heavily in automation and physical infrastructure projects, such as deepening quay walls and buying and retrofitting cranes tro meet the demands of increasing numbers of mega vessels.
All of these challenges are occurring simultaneously, with a double whammy of weakening demand and oversupply of slots. While we may feel somewhat helpless dealing with these issues – challenges such as surplus capacity will take a long time to be resolved and others such as weakening demand are exogenous to the industry – there is also a lot that we can do together to increase efficiency and restore profitability to the industry.
In order for us to articulate and realise these changes, we need to zoom out and visualise a new era. After all, we cant be what we can's see. In the new era we see, collaboration between the various stakeholders in the ocean value chain is the norm.