Covid-19 may well have brought society to a standstill, but one thing that we learned throughout the pandemic is that global supply chains still need to move even in the most extreme circumstances. So while logistics personnel couldn’t meet face-to-face amid widespread restrictions, goods were continuing to flow around the world to cater to consumer demand.
Life after Covid has not only breathed new life into businesses, but also allowed for professionals to engage with each other at specialist events and share their expertise to build towards a brighter future together – including at Transport Logistic 2023, which opened its doors for the first time since 2018 in May.
The event takes place in Munich every two years and is considered the world's largest trade fair for logistics, mobility, IT and supply chain management, attracting tens of thousands of exhibitors from across the full logistics spectrum.
It’s earned itself a reputation as the ideal event for open and proactive debate on how to tackle and overcome contemporary supply chain challenges.
Many different avenues of discussion were on the table throughout a hugely insightful week, but if you weren’t able to join Maersk on location, here are three of the event’s hottest topics.
Supply chain management from end-to-end
Supply chains and their complexities are what keeps management professionals up at night. With various providers, modes, legalities and more to negotiate, it’s safe to say keeping businesses’ ecosystems functioning across all levels is something of a challenge.
And in this current economic climate, a fully functioning supply chain can be the difference between reaching the market at the right time to profit, or missing out on demand and being left with financial problems.
With this in mind, attendees engaged in lively discussion at Transport Logistic 2023 and said having tailored, end-to-end solutions from as few providers as possible can give them a competitive advantage.
The reason we are developing solutions across the whole supply chain is because our customers are asking for it. We have relished the opportunity at Transport Logistic to discuss how an integrated supply chain can benefit our customers and discussing how we can further improve and collaborate.
Simplifying supply chains has very much been the name of the game since the pandemic, with widespread disruption forcing businesses to evaluate their logistics operations and mitigate risk in a number of different ways (including within sourcing strategies, for example).
Another such way has been connecting the supply chain and reducing complexities, which ultimately means ensuring comprehensive coverage from cargo’s point of origin all the way to its final destination. This, of course, encompasses far more than just transport itself – taking into account the likes of complicated customs clearance processes and storage solutions through warehousing.
Strong fluctuations in demand from consumers have been leading to overstocking issues for businesses across Europe, which is why adequate warehousing facilities and efficient inventory management are a crucial part of getting an end-to-end logistics strategy right. Ever-changing customs regulations, meanwhile, make expertise in the field a desirable asset when getting goods over borders and to market as quickly as possible.
Taking off with flexible solutions
Despite the challenges of the pandemic being somewhat behind us, uncertainty amongst society remains at unprecedented highs.
Geopolitical conflicts, economic instability and high rates of inflation mean the modern-day consumer is more conscious than ever of how they spend their money.
As such, businesses need flexibility in their supply chains to speed up, slow down or re-route cargo to where consumers are asking for it – all in all to have a positive financial impact.
For Maersk’s Global Head of Air Products, Michel Pozas Lucic, flexibility was top of the agenda during discussions with attendees in Munich. Michel explained how European supply chains can be flexible across key markets within the continent and beyond, with air freight playing a crucial role in a fast-reacting and moving supply chain.
Our customers are dealing with immense levels of unpredictability, so having reliable and fast alternative transport is crucial for reaching the right markets at the right time. With its new air freight hub in Billund, Denmark, Maersk has established a direct air freight connection to and from China, which offers customers increased flexibility and multiple opportunities on both sides of the route. By developing these connections further, Europe can remain competitive and well connected with other regions not just in Asia, but worldwide, despite economic pressures and geopolitical challenges.
With Maersk’s own pilots, maintenance staff, operations and forwarding teams on site at Billund together with a self-controlled aircraft network, there are fewer external entities to rely on within operations – adding further reliability benefits to customers.
And with Maersk Air Cargo freighters receiving priority load and unload, goods are off planes and on to the next part of their journey as fast as possible – speeding up the route to market even more to capitalise on revenue opportunities.
Doing it all sustainably
Climate change and its consequences are already a palpable reality, and despite the desire to find prompt and cost-effective solutions, the logistics industry still has a long way to go to fully decarbonise its operations.
It is widely accepted, however, that the time for action is now – so logistics providers and businesses alike must prioritise sustainability to ensure their long-term viability.
Conversations at Transport Logistic 2023 understandably focused on the necessary steps in the move towards a greener future, such as investing in more fuel-efficient vehicles, adopting sustainable practices in the supply chain and implementing circular economy principles to reduce waste and reuse materials.
Maersk itself is committed to delivering net-zero emissions by 2040, but such ambitions can’t be achieved in isolation and it’s very much the task of the whole logistics industry to come together for the good of the planet. Transport represents almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, but with great responsibility also comes great opportunity to evaluate the industry and make progressive change.
We are increasingly recognising the significance of Europe and the intra-European network in improving our end-to-end offering for customers. Sustainability, in particular, holds a crucial position in both Maersk and our customers’ focus. Its importance is continuously growing, whether it's in warehousing, the use of electronically operated vehicles and barges, or the implementation of near-sourcing and efficient intermodal transport options.
As the world continues to change, the logistics industry needs to keep up. In Europe in particular, where cross-border logistics have become increasingly complex and the importance and value of flexibility continues to increase, it’s clear that a new way of thinking is necessary.
By consolidating logistics services under one roof, customers can benefit from a streamlined and simplified supply chain, which can also eliminate complexity and create a more efficient and responsive logistics process.
And if you have the necessary partnerships in place to focus on environmentally friendly practices along the way, you’ll do your bit for the world and gain a favourable advantage in the eyes of the consumer.
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