Marking its 40th edition this year, the TOC Europe Conference and Exhibition returns to the leading maritime hub of Rotterdam on 9th-11th June 2015 to assess the fundamental changes now sweeping global container transport and logistics as a result of the shipping industry’s headlong charge towards mega vessels and alliances.
Dealing with the fallout from the unprecedented upscaling of ships both on major and secondary trade routes will be a central theme this year both in the Container Supply Chain (CSC) and TECH TOC conferences that run during the three-day trade show.
World container trade hit an estimated 152 million TEU in 2014 and is forecast to grow 6.5% over the next two years. Nonetheless, with over 1 million TEU of new vessel capacity already due to be delivered in 2015, not counting further newbuild activity, supply is still expected to outstrip demand. Most critically, ships of 8,000TEU and above now account for 85% of the orderbook and ultra-large container vessels of 16,000TEU+ are the fastest-growing sector.
This presents a fundamental challenge to established supply chain systems worldwide, not least as a result of the ‘cascade effect’ as ultra-large vessels displace large ships onto secondary and regional trades.
For cargo owners and 3PLs, the end result looks like fewer product options, longer transit times and increased reliance on transhipment to get goods to their chosen destinations. It is valid to pose the question whether the customer has been forgotten in the scramble to add even greater tonnage to the market and this will be the theme of a special Day 1 debate in the CSC conference.
Certainly, deteriorating schedule reliability and increased port congestion have played havoc with many shippers’ international supply chains over recent months.
Major BCOs already confirmed to share their views at TOC Europe 2015 include: Victor Helmond, Container Lead EMEA at Cargill; Mark Holloway, VP Supply Chain EMEA for Goodyear Dunlop; and Filip Degroote, Transportation Director EMEA, Stanley Black & Decker.
The combination of mega-vessels and growth in alliance activity also has deep ramifications for port and terminal operations, and hinterland connections, an issue that will be explored both in the CSC and TECH TOC conferences.
Port authorities and terminal operators face a multitude of issues, including the need to size up access channels and turning basins, more inter-terminal transport moves, far greater peaks and troughs in container flows, and how to deal with much bigger blocks of cargo without extending berthing windows. Speakers will discuss what new processes, relationships and technologies are needed to juggle all of these demands, including the current and future role of automation.
View Container Supply Chain Conference highlights from 2014
Beyond containers, the annual BULK Ports & Technology conference also taking place during the show will explore regulatory, safety, environmental and operational efficiency challenges for shipping and handling of dry bulk cargoes.
“TOC Europe is where the container supply chain gathers on an annual basis to learn, debate and network,” said Paul Holloway, Director, TOC Events. “2015 is a special year for this brand as we deliver our 40th edition. There is no better location for us to do this than Rotterdam, Europe’s largest container port, and we greatly appreciate the ongoing support of Rotterdam Port Authority.”
Mr. Holloway added: “As ever, alongside the exhibition and conference streams, TOC will be offering an extensive social and networking programme, including an exclusive tour to APM Terminals’ newly-opened Maasvlakte II facility, representing the state of the art in terminal automation and environmental management, with zero CO2 emissions.”