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Blog: Embracing the unpredictable – by CEO, Keith Svendsen

In a recent article published on the World Economic Forum’s website, Marc Gilbert and Michael R. McAdoo from Boston Consulting Group talk about the shifting trade flows and pose a relevant question: “How can companies that depend on global supply chains manage today’s uncertainties and prepare for future risks?”
One of the main arguments the authors make is that today’s uncertain trade environment demands a new balance between efficiency and lower costs on one side and a greater need to identify and respond to global risks on the other.

This is something we continuously deal with at APM Terminals, with focus on serving our Customers in a volatile market whilst reducing waste in the way we offer our services. Working with unpredictability, identifying risks and opportunities to react to potential disturbances has never been more crucial.

The cost argument is undisputable. As much as we want to keep our operational cost under control, we understand that our customers also need to apply the same approach and therefore we don’t aspire to build our competitiveness based on price only. our industry being prepared for the future also means upping the game in decarbonising operations...
Keith Svendsen, CEO

Where we feel we can truly make a difference is our ability to adapt and react when global trade takes unexpected turns, or when we – and our customers – are faced with operational challenges. We have already experienced that with the COVID-19 pandemic, spill-over effects of the Suez Canal blockage, and even on more regular bases, like disturbances caused by severe weather conditions which impact port operations. This adaptability and preparedness is where we have learned a lot in the recent past, and can make a difference for our customers.

In the article I referenced earlier, the authors give some valuable advice to companies who want to be ahead of the curve and a lot of it has to do with taking actions that bolster supply chain resilience, preparing for unlikely events and developing contingency plans – all of which we continuously do at APM Terminals. I could add to that list our Lean philosophy which helps us to be agile all the time responding to our customers needs, and increased use of data to make better decisions and improve visibility across the supply chain.

And lastly, in our industry being prepared for the future also means upping the game in decarbonising operations, so that we can continue doing our business with the least possible impact on the environment for the benefit of all of us. For APM Terminals, it is a process where every step matters and brings us closer to achieving our net zero ambition.