TPM24 Deep Dive: Unmissable Insights for Your Strategy


TPM:  Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference

No contest— TPM dominates the logistics conference scene.

The Journal of Commerce casts a wide net to assemble the globe's leading logistics veterans to separate fact from fiction, cutting through the noise to credible insights into the logistics market's pulse.

Jetting off to Long Beach to attend TPM won't be on the cards for most brands down under.  So, we've compiled the indispensable insights and forecasts from TPM24 so you can navigate the rough waters of 2024 and outmaneuver your competitors.

2024: The second riskiest year on record.

The Red Sea, Panama Canal and industrial action was top of mind at TPM. Risks loom large for everyone, and they're here to stay.  In 25 years of data history, S&P Global Market Intelligence has marked 2024 as the second riskiest year on record, second only to 2023. 

In his keynote address at TPM24,  Robert Gates, former head of the US Central Intelligence Agency  stated that “global dangers are at a level we haven’t seen since the end of World War 2.” Gates, who has served twenty-six years in the CIA and advised 8 US presidents, also made a bleak remark on how “the relatively relaxed period that you have operated in over the past decades is largely gone”.

During his opening keynote, Peter Tirschwell, Vice President for Maritime & Trade at S&P Global Market Intelligence, reassured that despite geopolitical threats and other risks, relationships and information will get us through.

At TPM24, global logistics and economic leaders spun this sobering insight into a vision of potential and progress. The silver lining? Forward-thinking brands will outpace their rivals.

The End of Globalization? 

The global economy is changing. Countries are realizing the double-edged sword of economic interdependence: once a harbinger of peace, it now stands as a pawn in geopolitical manipulation.

Since COVID-19, debates on globalization's decline and its world-altering potential have surged. Gates warned that global conflicts and rising nationalism threaten the types of trade agreements and economic cooperation that underpin the container trade.

Marc Levinson, economist, historian and author of “The Box”, shared his view:

Levinson describes this fading era of globalization, characterized by its reliance on cheap labor, offshore manufacturing, and transoceanic shipping to drive cost savings.  He noted a paradigm shift in the industry, with professionals now reconsidering their supply chain decisions, questioning their long-term viability.

“This isn’t something that happens instantly. Changes are on the margin.” 

What lies ahead in the next wave of globalization? While it's still unfolding, businesses are ramping up local manufacturing, near-shoring, China plus one strategies, and diversifying their supply chains to de-risk operations. 

Decarbonization: Action speaks louder.

Gone are the days of greenwashing. Shippers are turning talk into action. But there's a harsh reality: there is still a green premium.

“Open your pockets and pay,” Thorsten Meincke, board member for air and ocean freight at DB Schenker, put it blankly. “Don’t just focus on cost reduction. The big step will cost money and there is no way around it.”

Budgets are tight, and justifying sustainability investment without a clear return on investment is an uphill battle.  Jim Bonsteel from Wesco described decarbonisation as a procedural journey that begins with advocacy.

The unanimous view at TPM: it's time to stop merely advocating for sustainability and start making the commitments and actions needed to truly drive change.

For Australian businesses, the phased introduction of a mandatory climate-related financial disclosure regime will commence in the 2024/2025 financial year. So, building a brand with staying power demands aligning with worldwide climate regulations to secure access to future markets and ensure lasting sustainability.

TPM24: Strategies for Supply Chain Success

Don't be left all at sea. Now is the time to take proactive measures and embrace innovative solutions to protect your supply chain from these challenges.

Stay Informed, Stay Ahead

By proactively monitoring the challenges and risks that permeate the logistics landscape, you can fortify your business's resilience. Gates stressed the importance of businesses staying attuned to global conflicts in 2024 to navigate supply chain disruptions.

When your supply chain is visible, you can streamline it. Streamlining through visibility means bidding farewell to risks, costs, and inefficiencies. Accurate predictive data for fully informed decision-making is one of our specialties.

Diversification equals security

Amidst ongoing market uncertainty, brands are realising the power of diversification for agility and are exploring how diverse manufacturer, carrier and forwarder portfolios offer better protection for global supply chains.  China still holds weight, but diversifying investments into emerging hubs like India, Vietnam, and the Philippines is crucial for risk mitigation and adaptability. 

Against the backdrop of geopolitical instability, solid contingency plans aren't just advisable – they're a necessity.  Now, more than ever, it's crucial to map your supply chain with full visibility and assess the risks affecting each link. 

The Winning Trio: Technology, visibility and strong relationships.

Brands are hungry for real-time, accurate shipment and SKU-level visibility from partners they know will have their back when times get tough. 

Global trade is interdependent. In a single shipment, you need multiple people to cooperate with your best interests in mind. In times of crisis, whether it's a shipping delay, customs issue, or unexpected disruption, you need strong freight relationships to secure your cargo's arrival on-site, at cost, and on time.

Take your first step towards net zero. 

Being more sustainable doesn't have to mean more tasks in your daily to do lists. Investing in technology to track your emissions is a great first step towards net zero.  There’s only so much your team can do on their own. Pool together the expertise of companies who align with your goals to reach targets that would otherwise be out of reach.

With Explorate you can set, track and hit sustainability targets with confidence.  Our emissions calculator factors the weather, vessel age, type, and shipment route for market leading accuracy. Even better, we track emissions for all your cargo, not just the containers we handle. Get in touch to learn more about how we make sustainable freight a no-brainer.

Want more on TPM24? Visit TPM TV.

2024 won't offer respite from geopolitical tensions and wild weather. Businesses without supply chain visibility and contingency plans will be left scrambling, facing operational disruptions, revenue losses, and reputational damage.

The Australian Industry Groups (Ai Group) 2023 survey of Australian CEO Expectations found that 88% of respondents are investing in measures to reduce their supply chain vulnerabilities over the coming 12 months.

We’re dedicated to leading the sea change as the logistics industry begins embracing data, technology and sustainability.  To see the difference Explorate can make to your operations, get in touch to see a live demo of how our app gives you unrivalled visibility down to the container.


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