Mark Montgomery, President and CEO, Ports America

Mark Montgomery, President and CEO, Ports America

The 2019 outlook for the global container industry is decidedly mixed, which will present some challenges and opportunities. We expect larger ships to be further deployed in key trades, such as in North America, redefining the relationship between ports and carriers.

As a hub for rail, barge, and trucks, seaports rely on critical connections within the supply chain to get goods to market. Therefore, infrastructure will need to keep up with such demand pressures on terminals. Private-public partnerships (PPPs) remain critical in infrastructure projects. Ports and their private sector partners are already investing $155 billion for the next five years in their terminals including expansions, infrastructure investments, and rail. Connecting in a pro-active, collaborative approach and bringing people and information together will be key contributing factors to success.

High productivity and efficiency are essential in successfully utilizing limited terminal space and accommodating increasing larger vessels and related cascading. Positive progress in these objectives are possible as we pursue performance excellence by exceeding customer and community expectations.

Currently, there remains uncertainty regarding trade policy/tensions and rising protectionism. Close monitoring of the situation and flexibility are crucial as developments unfold.

The maritime industry needs to leverage innovation and ever-improving technological advances. Seamless integration of the ports with the trucking community and BCOs will expand transparency, visibility, and efficiency of the supply chain network. Working together as one team, we can transform the customer experience. Harnessing new tracking and dispatching technology for containers will add to that positive experience.

Safety and zero harm remain top priorities. These core values continue to be imperative and must be an integral part of the industry’s culture, extending to all personnel, labor, operations, cargo, and the environment. As volume increases, it is even more necessary for all involved to maintain vigilance.

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