Ross Thompson, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, AD Ports Group
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Ross Thompson, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, AD Ports Group

As we move into 2024, we see a wave of investment in new vessels is on the horizon, delivering a flood of increased capacity. Managing this overcapacity will be crucial to maintaining service reliability. To do this, companies may want to consider the demolition of older vessels; this strategy, coupled with dual-fuel investment, might bring some level of stability. However, given fragile rates and potential for a price war, it’s challenging to predict full recovery in service and vessel reliability in 2024. 

Diversification into other logistics activities should balance this potential reality and improve reliability; investment in terminals to create rail and road infrastructure diversifies service offering and ensures smooth movement of goods beyond the docks. 

Digital transformation through the implementation of technologies like blockchain for cargo tracking, AI for optimizing operations, and IoT for real-time monitoring can streamline port activities, facilitating faster cargo movements and enhancing hinterland connections to move containers swiftly.

Infrastructure limitations of ports may impact their ability to accommodate ever-larger vessels. Port expansion, such as the deepening of berths, investing in larger cranes and expanding storage areas can support these efforts.

Global economic growth is expected to witness an approximate 3% increase in 2024, according to the International Monetary Fund, providing a glimmer of optimism amid the challenges. Considering the backdrop of this soft macroeconomic outlook and the imminent influx of new capacity, vigilance, foresight and adaptability will be key. 

I believe the future of container shipping and transport is promising but does come with challenges. As a group, we harness synergies across our vertically integrated business model and anticipate future customer demand to proactively invest in diverse business services and innovative ports infrastructure. 

We will continue to leverage our strategic global position and world-class capabilities to lead the way in this regard.