Our experience since 2009 shows clearly that an economic downturn can affect the whole world, including our industry. It has also shown the world is becoming smaller and more competitive than ever before. Meanwhile, the world’s population is also growing.
This takes us to a new era of sustainability and efficiency, and focusing on the effectiveness of doing what our industry does best. As part of that, we need to address three important issues:
Addressing our industry’s impact on the environment is the right thing to do, but it is also smart. Minimizing our use of energy reduces CO2 emissions, but it also reduces costs. Of course, the picture is not black and white. The new mega-container ships mean more is carried using less fuel, but there is the energy cost of building them, and there is expanded land-side infrastructure required to handle them. The industry also needs to begin exploring and assessing the potential risk of rising sea levels as a consequence of global warming, and its implications on cost and on safety.
We have seen how technology can reduce truck idling time and speed the supply chain to an extraordinary degree. The industry needs to innovate further to improve efficiency and effectiveness, be that pure technology, or data management that makes the logistics chain more effective.
The industry has a crucial role to play in food security and supply, which is becoming increasingly important. More and more food is being produced, and yet people go hungry even as food goes to waste and food prices rise. Our industry can do much to address these issues through an efficient and effective food supply chain.
We as an industry need to boldly face these three issues to survive not just 2013 but the decades to come.