Another eventful year: Reflections on 2021

Another eventful year: Reflections on 2021


By Morten Engelstoft

2021 was another eventful year, with the world still struggling with the pandemic. On top of that, bottlenecks, network disruptions and operational contingencies put an even stronger pressure on global supply chains. This has, in turn, put shipping and port logistics in the spotlight, and the role we play in keeping global trade running has become more apparent to people around the world.

Reflecting back, I can only be proud of how much we have accomplished despite circumstances. To begin with, we stayed close to our customers and offered them the service they need. We have kept our people safe while running undisrupted operations. We launched our refined strategy of “Safer, Better, Bigger”. We inaugurated a new facility (Kalundborg in Denmark) and signed a concession agreement for a new terminal (Rijeka in Croatia). We also successfully divested our older terminal in Rotterdam, focusing our presence on the automated facility at Maasvlakte II.

We have progressed with expansion projects in several of our locations around the world. We have structured our decarbonization efforts with the newly created dedicated function. And last, but not least, we celebrated 20 years of existence as independent brand and company within A.P. Moller – Maersk.

We have also become more resilient and embraced the new reality, fully aware that the “new normal” is here to stay. This applies to new supply chain trends, the need for greater flexibility and adaptability to the unknown, but also to the way we work. Thanks to this, we are well positioned to look into the future with confidence.

What are the trends we can expect to continue also in 2022? Without a doubt, the increased focus on digitisation and technology. The pandemic has increased the speed at which digital solutions are fundamentally changing our business and our customers’ own businesses. But to be fair, a lack of adequate technology is today one of the biggest challenges of global supply chains.

In our industry, important steps have already been taken to improve operational efficiency. But ultimately, a strategic shift to meet contemporary customer demands will be based on our ability to combine physical assets with technology and bring visibility and actionability that our customers, and the whole supply chain, truly needs. All this is of course powered by people and our Way of Working has allowed us to work more collaboratively and to be on a continuous improvement journey.

Another key trend is decarbonising port logistics. While bulk of CO2 emissions are generated by shipping, the terminal business also has its share and we therefore also must be part of the solution. Luckily, decarbonisation is rapidly gaining track across the market, with customers, competitors and authorities setting clear CO2 targets. This is very encouraging, and we are enthusiastic to see this common platform developing rapidly, where different stakeholders across the port logistics industry also understand the need to act faster and more decisively.

Safety, of course, will continue to be a priority. Protecting our people during the pandemic has added a new dimension, but our holistic approach to safety remains unchanged and “Safer” is one of the three pillars of our strategy. As our industry and our business transforms, safety in our operations remains non-negotiable and I am extremely proud of the safety culture we have developed here at APM Terminals thanks to our collective efforts.

As we gear up for next year, I’d like to thank all our colleagues, customers, contractors, vendors, partners and stakeholders for all the efforts in 2021. We look forward to embarking together with you on a new journey also in 2022.

Source: APM Terminals