On April 9, 2018, the session on “The Future of Logistics” of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2018 was held as scheduled. It was the first logistics-themed parallel session since the establishment of the BFA. Representatives and stakeholders from the global logistics supply chain as well as upstream and downstream stakeholders had an in-depth discussion on the changing logistics industry and reached a consensus on jointly promoting the prosperity of global economy and trade. The international logistics industry expressed their welcome and support for the Belt and Road Initiative, calling for more efforts to boost economic globalization in order to guarantee global trade.
During the session, heads of seven companies, including China COSCO SHIPPING Corporation Limited (COSCO SHIPPING), Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ), Boston Consulting Group (BCG), China National Machinery Industry Corporation (Sinomach), DP World, JD Logistics and PSA International, respectively delivered remarks. From the perspectives of logistics companies, industry clients, and upstream and downstream companies along the industry chain, they analyzed the opportunities and challenges brought by changes to the logistics industry and shared their initiatives and experiences in coping with changes. The industry leaders also explored ways to build an efficient logistics supply chain and forecasted the future development of logistics.
Capt. Xu Lirong, Chairman of COSCO SHIPPING, said the logistics industry has been growing in breadth and depth, with fundamental changes in terms of market, demand, capacity and concept. COSCO SHIPPING itself is an outcome of changes. As the largest comprehensive shipping line in the world, the restructured corporation should not only maintain trust with and meet expectations of its clients, but also lead the development and innovation of the global shipping community. Especially, it should build a bridge for global economic and trade exchanges under the Belt and Road Initiative. According to Capt. Xu, both operators and individual consumers today have paid more attention to convenient, safe and reliable logistics service, not just the price. In particular, logistics suppliers have shifted their pursuit for quantity to quality and replaced product-centered strategy with customer-oriented strategy. He added that the current concept guiding the development of logistics highlights “two focuses”: 1) The innovation concept focuses on new technologies such as blockchain, new energy and e-commerce instead of traditional factors. 2) The service concept focuses on one-stop and integrated services instead of single and self-owned factors. Vertical integration, cross-border cooperation and cluster competitiveness are winning recognition in the industry. Responding to the changes in logistics, COSCO SHIPPING will make better use of its scale advantage, increase investment in integrated logistics infrastructure and commit itself to providing more professional, reliable and customized services. The corporation will embrace changes with an open mind and pursue development through innovation. The chairman also emphasized that the future logistics industry will usher in a new era led by new thinking, new drivers of growth and new models. Logistics is undoubtedly an important pillar in international trade, and therefore, we need to be more inclusive and open in creating and maintaining a free, easy international trade environment for win-win cooperation. It will not only benefit global trade, but also promote the sustainable development of the future logistics industry. He called upon logistics companies all over the world to participate in the changes, and contribute to the construction of the Belt and Road as well as the prosperity of global economy and trade.
CEO of JD Logistics Wang Zhenhui stated that, over the past four decades of reform and opening-up, great changes have taken place in the logistics industry, which has developed from a supporting industry to a leading industry in the social economy and become a primary driving force behind the upgrading of traditional industries and cultivation of new growth drivers. With the advent of unbounded retail, logistics will create unprecedented commercial value. As the saying goes, “The wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers”. To achieve further growth, it is critical for logistics players to break boundaries and build an open, integrated, efficient and coordinated unbounded logistics ecosystem featuring short-chain, smartness and symbiosis, and to provide consumers and businesses with rapid, accurate and satisfactory services. JD Logistics is committed to working with partners in the global logistics industry to build social supply chain infrastructure and break industry boundaries for a win-win outcome.
Ren Hongbin, Chairman of Sinomach, shared his views as a client. He indicated that the service quality, professionalism and integration capability of logistics companies are among customers’ top interests, and believed that those who can provide quality services will stand out in the logistics changes. Ren introduced that COSCO SHIPPING offered professional and efficient total logistics services for the overseas vehicle factory construction project of the first Chinese independent auto brand. He said with the construction of the Belt and Road, logistics demand will see steady growth while technological innovation will drive the future development of logistics companies. He suggested logistics-related companies harness the technologies of “big data” and “Internet+”, significantly boost the circulation efficiency, and improve the intermediate links and logistics management level to achieve smart international project logistics.
President of KTZ Kanat Alpysbayev said that Kazakhstan has made substantial investments in logistics infrastructure improvement over the past decade. He said railway will play a bigger role in the logistics industry and see more rapid transit of passengers and freight by improving speed, integrating resources, combining with shipping and other modes of transport, and applying emerging technologies. The president added that the Belt and Road has actually achieved connectivity between China, Asia and Europe, Africa, or even greatly facilitated the logistics connectivity between countries across the African continent.
Chairman of BCG Hans-Paul Bürkner advised logistics companies to embrace the opportunities and challenges and spur the development of logistics industry by applying new technologies, stepping up cooperation and integration, and enhancing core competitiveness.
Group Chairman and CEO of DP World Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem voiced his opinions as a logistics player. He said an important part of logistics changes lies in the integration of the entire logistics chain, which should take into account both elements of technology and customer demand. Technologies such as block chain nowadays have helped us better complete the integration progress. To achieve constructive development in the future, the logistics industry should optimize the process and apply information technology in an effort to reduce costs and wastes.
Group CEO of PSA International Tan Chong Meng stressed that logistics is a team sport. He said that information technology will bring greater changes, especially to the logistics industry in the following decade, calling for strengthened cooperation and further application of information technology.
Vice President of the New Development Bank (NDB) Leslie Maasdorp noted that the NDB focuses on sustainable infrastructure development, including the sustainable development of transportation. He suggested the development of logistics should be forward-looking, such as eying the infrastructure construction for future transportation.
Liu Hualong, Chairman of CRRC Corporation Limited, said professional and efficient logistics service is essential as CRRC goes global, and expected logistics companies to provide customers with one-stop services that are more rapid, convenient and tailor-made.
Executive Vice President and Deputy Party Secretary of COSCO SHIPPING Sun Jiakang, and Executive Vice Presidents of COSCO SHIPPING Huang Xiaowen and Yu Zenggang attended the event. The session attracted more than 150 representatives from the fields of global shipping, logistics, ports, trade, shipbuilding, railway transportation and machinery manufacturing, as well as financial and consulting service