Blog for updates and happenings in logistics in the Asia-Pacific region

May 26, 2014

Vietnam Container Ports Development

With its lengthy coastline of some 3,200 km, Vietnam’s seaport network comprises of numerous small and medium-sized entities, the fragmented sea-side capabilities further hampered by inefficient land-side distribution. Most large ports are located on rivers, like Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City, typically with limitations of access from the ocean, water depth, quay length and container yard space, compounded by downtown city locations making cargo transfers to other modes of transport difficult and inefficient due to traffic congestion. Hence the development of modern deep-water port facilities at Cai Mep – further out from HCMC and closer to the ocean.

As discussed however in a recent ASEAN Ports and Shipping forum, the fragmented approach to the development of multiple container terminal facilities at the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex – situated on the southeast coast some 50 km from Ho Chi Minh City – has resulted in over-capacity, to the extent that operations at several of the new terminals have been suspended, due to a shortage of cargo and absence of ships.

Distance from major industrial zones, together with limitations in land side connectivity – and associated additional cost implications – all combined to make cargo owners reluctant to utilise the newly built facilities, in turn making shipping lines question the viability of making port calls at the new terminals.

Vietnam Ports

Picture: South Vietnam fragmented container port developments resulting in over capacity and underutilisation (source: ICF GHK Hong Kong)

Compounding the unfortunate scenario is the continuing operation of the Saigon city river ports in downtown HCMC, thereby supporting the existing inefficient operations within the busy city, with the related congestion and pollution, and further entrenching the incumbents’ reluctance to move cargo operations to the new Cai Mep facilities.

As a ray of sunshine amongst the gloom, CMIT (Cai Mep International Terminal) see many positive opportunities for Vietnam to capitalise on the newly constructed, modern, deep-water terminal facilities and their strategic geographic location near the ocean, not least of which is to connect south Vietnam to the major international trade flows from Asia to Europe and USA, eminently feasible assuming larger container vessels can be persuaded to return to Cai Mep and that multimodal hinterland connectivity can be enabled through effectively integrated logistics networks.

In the international context, Vietnam’s location on the South China Sea provides access to the main intra-Asia and inter-Asian shipping routes, which are forecast for above average growth in the coming years. Adopting a more holistic and integrated approach to deep-sea port development, and the related multimodal hinterland connectivity, will enable Vietnam to better capitalise on its strategic position and vast potential – with many opportunities to empower performance and growth throughout regional supply chain ecosystems in this Asia Era.

Mark Millar provides value for clients with independent, external and informed perspectives on their supply chain strategies in Asia. His series of ‘Asia Supply Chain Insights’ presentations, consultations, seminars and corporate briefings help companies to improve business operations, plan more effectively, and increase the efficiency of their global supply chain ecosystems. Clients have engaged Mark as Speaker, MC, Moderator or Conference Chairman at more than 300 events in 20 countries. The Global Institute of Logistics recognised him as “One of the most Progressive People in World Logistics” and USA-headquartered Supply & Demand Chain Executive named him as one of their 2014 Pros-to-Know in Supply Chain.


Raffles joins LSCMS as Corporate Member

rafflesRaffles College of Higher Education, a subsidiary of Raffles Education Corporation Limited has recently joined the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Society. Raffles is the largest private education group in the Asia Pacific region and has an extensive network of 34 colleges in 31 cities across 12 countries in Asia Pacific: Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Raffles will be launching a new course on Supply Chain and Logistics and will be collaborating with the Society in a number of ways such as inviting industry professionals to conduct talks, workshops and seminars for Raffles students. Industrial attachments with the relevant industry players, site visits, and networking opportunities with LSCMS’ extensive network of organisations and individuals are also some of the things that can be coordinated to enhance students’ career advancement.


May 23, 2014

Manufacturers Are Considering Near-Shoring – But Just How Near?

Filed under: Newsletter,Supply Chain Management — admin @ 11:09 am

Podcast.GIFManufacturers like the U.S. They really like it! Believe it or not, the U.S. has become the number-one choice for companies seeking to reshore production back to the West, after decades of favoring China and other low-cost parts of Asia. Not to overstate the case, of course – manufacturers are a long way from bringing back all those jobs that fled the country over past years. But they’re clearly giving thought to at least a partial return home.

[Listen to the Podcast more… Curated from Supply Chain Brain]


May 22, 2014

Private Sector Hiring Again, Mainly in Sales, Technology, Manufacturing, Production

Filed under: Newsletter,Supply Chain Management — admin @ 11:08 am

Private companies, expecting revenue growth to soar far past that of gross domestic product (GDP), are in a hiring mode not seen since pre-recession days. While various GDP forecasts for the United States call for 2014 growth of less than 3 percent, the average predicted revenue gain for the next 12 months, among 213 private companies surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers between January and April, was 8.5 percent.

[Read more… Curated from Supply Chain Brain]


May 17, 2014

Benefits of On-Line Learning

Logisticians occasionally write to us to enquire about courses and training. We are more than happy to assist with this.

More and more we are getting questions about on-line courses. Given the exponential growth of on-line learning over the last decade and the amazing growth of MOCC’s like Coursera on-line education is now a widely accepted mode of learning.

In many countries, access to good, recognised, quality education and training is not always accessible or available. On-line learning helps overcome this. Also, on-line learning can be just as challenging – maybe even more so – than conventional classroom learning.

Additionally, there are several benefits of on-line learning that will help you acquire valuable career skills that you will not get from any textbook. These skills are essential to succeed in the workforce; they are also skills that traditional classroom students often will not develop until long after they have graduated – if ever.

In many countries today, having a paper qualification is fairly common. The individual with the soft or less tangible skills like high EQ is what employers are looking for.

The following are just 4 benefits we see from on-line learning.

Benefit 1 — Self-Motivation: Traditional students are required to attend a class. They meet with an instructor on a regular basis. Instructors deliver lessons, answer questions, and help keep students on track.

In an on-line learning environment however, you rarely have a set class time. In progammes that do not incorporate on-line webinars and the like, it is unlikely that you will ever see your instructor face-to-face.

On the positive side, this allows for a flexible schedule but since there is no one there to make you show up and learn, you have to learn how to stay motivated. You have to hold yourself accountable. Self-motivation, once mastered, is an amazingly beneficial skill to possess in the real work world.

Benefit 2 — Communication: Being a highly motivated go-getter is terrific, but what good is that when you cannot convey your ideas to others? Being a good communicator will be highly valued wherever you work.

On-line learning is perfect for helping develop those communication skills. Because you do not get to sit next to your classmates on-line group projects and communication with your instructor is very common and carry their own unique communication challenges.

The primary way you will communicate with them will be through written assignments, e-mails, and posts. To them, you are essentially just “words” on a screen or someone they will see on-line for just a few minutes. Communication therefore has to be clear and succinct. Your communication skills have to be sharp. You want every message, every paper you submit, to communicate your thoughts as clearly as possible. Simple written misunderstandings can lead to bad grades. On-line learning teaches you to communicate well and often.

Benefit 3 — Organization & Time Management: It does not matter how motivated and eloquent you are if you cannot juggle your school work with the rest of your life. As an on-line student, you have to develop a time management plan and prioritise your coursework, otherwise you can easily get left behind.

How much time will you have each day to study? How can you make the most of that time? Will you be able to be more productive during the morning or evening? How many classes will you be able to take at once and still stay sane? You have to ask yourself questions about time management from the beginning, and constantly re-evaluate your time use as your tasks and priorities change.

Benefit 4 — Adaptability: Regardless of how well you plan and prioritize, there is always the chance that something unexpected will happen. You must be able to adapt quickly whether it is a  crashed computer, loss of internet connection, or something else.

In a nutshell, employers today are looking for individuals with these four highly beneficial skills:

  • self-motivation
  • communication
  • time management
  • adaptability

On-line learning students must acquire these same four skills in order to successfully complete an on-line course. Regardless of the programme you choose, the benefits of on-line learning will help you build career strengths that will pay off daily in the real world of work.


May 15, 2014

Tapping Social Media to Power Your Supply Chain

Filed under: Newsletter,Supply Chain Management — admin @ 11:08 am

20140515-212350.jpgMany companies use social media to improve supply chain operations by connecting shippers and service providers.

Social media provides a platform for companies to share knowledge and opinions, and broadcast information to an audience of followers. It also generates valuable data about how your customers think, shop, vote, and spend their leisure time. Many companies have jumped into social media to improve supply chain operations. Cindi Hane, vice president of technical product management, and product manager for logistics at supply chain technology provider Elemica, offers these tips for putting social media to work for your supply chain.

[Read more… Curated from Inbound Logistics]


May 12, 2014

FedEx Strengthens Sustainable Access

Filed under: Logistics,Logistics Social Responsibility,Newsletter — admin @ 11:08 am

20140515-211859.jpg“FedEx continues to make the investments that will provide more sustainable access and future opportunities for our business, our customers and the communities we serve,” said Mitch Jackson, vice \president of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability for FedEx. “By focusing on strategic initiatives in both our company and the community at large, we are helping to meet the long-term economic and social needs of FedEx and the community.”

The report demonstrates that one key indicator of these efforts has been the reduction of the company’s environmental footprint while experiencing year-over-year growth. In fact, FedEx revenues were up in fiscal year 2013 while emissions from the company’s owned and operated fleet and facilities dropped by 1.3 percent. However, as the report outlines, FedEx leadership and improvements in its operational sustainability—and its environmental and industry impact— are just one of the many ways that FedEx is providing long-term value to the business and the communities in which it operates. In addition to environmental efficiency, the report outlines key progress in areas such as economics and market access, community and disaster relief, and people and workplace.

[Read more… FedEx]


May 10, 2014

Moody’s revises global shipping industry outlook to stable

Filed under: Logistics,Newsletter — admin @ 11:09 am

20140515-211000.jpgMoody’s would consider changing the outlook back to negative if supply exceeds demand by more than two per cent or if the industry’s aggregate EBITDA declines by over five per cent.

The report further notes that cost reductions — including the effects of lower bunker prices, as well as the application of slower steaming speeds and efficiency savings — have driven the growth in EBITDA.

[Read more… Curated from Moody’s]


May 7, 2014

LSCMS Advisory Board Member Recognised

Filed under: Asia Supply Chain Insights,Awards,China,General,Newsletter — admin @ 8:52 am

MM Speaking at Global SCM Summit Shanghai 11-2013USA-headquartered Supply & Demand Chain Executive, the executive’s user manual for successful supply and demand chain transformation, has included Hong Kong-based industry leader Mark Millar in its latest annual listing of Pros-to-Know in Supply Chain.

The 2014 Provider Pros to Know is a listing of individuals who have helped their Supply Chain clients or the Supply Chain community at large prepare to meet the industry challenges they face in the year ahead.

As managing partner of M Power Associates, Mark leverages 25 years global business experience and an exclusive network of best-in-class supply chain practitioners to provide value for clients with informed and independent perspectives on their supply chain strategies. His series of ‘Asia Supply Chain Insights’ corporate briefings, consultations and seminars help companies navigate the complex landscapes in China and ASEAN, improve the efficiency of their supply chain ecosystems and make better-informed business decisions.

Speaking from the Multi Modal trade show in Birmingham, England – where he is hosting a seminar on ‘China Supply Chain Strategies’ – Mark said: “I am honoured to be named in this prestigious listing of supply chain leaders, which reflects my continued focus on helping clients to understand and improve their global supply chain ecosystems. These ecosystems play a crucial role in enabling global trade, highlighting why all businesses should put Supply Chain firmly on the strategic agenda in 2014.”

Barry Hochfelder, editor of Supply & Demand Chain Executive, said: “Supply Chain is increasingly recognized as a strategic differentiator and Supply Chain Leaders have become crucial to the success of the enterprise in meeting the challenges of what truthfully has been called a turbulent economy. Our Pros to Know listing highlights many of these outstanding executives and their accomplishments.”

“This honor highlights the many thought-leaders who are helping to shape the Supply Chain industry and advance Supply Chain as a respected discipline in the enterprise,” Hochfelder added. “Their efforts in developing the tools, processes and knowledge base necessary for Supply Chain transformation, and in promoting new approaches to supply chain enablement, have earned them a place on this year’s Pros listing.”

Pros to Know 2014 SDCEWell-known throughout the logistics and supply chain communities across Asia, Mark has been based in Hong Kong since 2005, prior to which he lived and worked in industry roles in Shanghai, Sydney and Singapore. Acknowledged as an engaging and energetic presenter, Mark has been engaged as speaker, moderator, MC or conference chairman at over 300 events in more than 20 countries.


May 5, 2014

Retailers – and Consumers – Need to Be Aware of Packaging’s Environmental Impact

20140515-212927.jpgToday’s consumer is more informed than ever about the products they are buying. This includes product attributes and information, advantages, limitations, and competitive pricing, among others. The notion of the informed consumer has also taken on a new meaning lately. Namely, consumers care where the products come from, and how it is made.

This is making retailers re-think some of their sourcing requirements, as consumers want more visibility into what makes up the food they buy, the toys they buy their kids, and pretty much anything else that could have a negative impact on them.

For a while, the negative impact applied mostly to their health and wellness. But as consumers grow increasingly eco-conscious, this also applies to their carbon footprint and the environmental impact of their choices and purchases. As a result, retailers need to take a look at how they can reduce the environmental impact of their shipping processes. One area that comes to mind is packaging. Retailers are using an excessive amount of packaging to ship items to customers. The extra boxes, bubble wrap, tissue paper, and additional packaging materials can have a negative impact on the environment.

>[Read more… Curated from Supply Chain Brain]