Asian Logistics, Maritime and Aviation Conference opens

HKTDC Executive Director Margaret Fong said the Asian Logistics, Maritime and Aviation Conference's online format this year allows the event to move beyond the limits of a physical location to connect global participants to a world of industry insights and expertise.

The 10th Asian Logistics, Maritime and Aviation Conference (ALMAC), an annual signature event for the industries jointly organised by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), opened today, running online for the first time in light of the pandemic. More than 60 experts and leaders from the logistics, maritime and aviation industries will share their insights at the two-day programme.

Today’s opening session was officiated by Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR. Margaret Fong, Executive Director of the HKTDC, welcomed international delegates to the conference, saying: “While the global pandemic has necessitated the conference to be held online, it will not impede our ability to provide a platform for learning, sharing and networking. In fact, the online format allows the conference to move beyond the limits of a physical location to connect global participants to a world of industry insights and expertise.” Also new this year, “Aviation” has been added to the conference name to highlight the industry’s importance.

Given the current challenges faced by the logistics, maritime and aviation industries, ALMAC Online is running under the theme “Capturing Opportunities Amidst Volatility”. The conference features more than 60 industry elite speakers who exchange their experiences in coping with the impact of the pandemic and, more importantly, share their forward-looking insights for future business development. With Asia playing a key role in global supply chain transformation under the new normal, ALMAC Online puts a sharp focus on examining Asia’s future role and cooperation within the region.

International participation from online to offline

This year, more than 3000 industry elites from over 60 countries and regions have registered for the annual logistics event. Numerous virtual business-matching sessions and roundtables have been organised to connect participants from around the world — including countries such as France, Germany and Italy as well as various Asian countries and regions — with industry players and chambers from Hong Kong and Mainland China, helping them expand business connections and explore partnership opportunities. At the same time, participants from different parts of the world are joining ALMAC Online from nine satellite venues, where sessions are held and live-streamed.

AI-driven business matching creates more connections

The ALMAC Online platform also provides several interactive functions that serve to connect different industry players around the world. Click-to-connect enables audience to identify potential partners with ease, perform one-on-one video conferencing, and exchange business cards. Online networking and artificial intelligence-(AI) driven business-matching services are also provided, creating easy connections between potential business partners. The Consultancy and Services Lounge also connects participants with some leading logistics technology and solutions providers. A total of 150-200 business matching meetings are expected to be held during the conference. Leading professionals and associations provide complimentary advisory services at the Meet the Experts and Meet the Shippers sessions, covering areas such as supply chain management and changing trade flows.

Air Freight Forum examines air cargo demand and industry collaboration

While the pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the air cargo industry, soaring demand for COVID-19 vaccines and e-commerce deliveries requires companies to maintain operational resilience and service excellence. This and other topical issues were discussed as ALMAC Online kicked off this morning with the Air Freight Forum, co-organised with Airport Authority Hong Kong under the theme “Overcoming Challenges to Prevail under the Pandemic”. Several salient topics were explored, including global air cargo demand, operational agility, COVID-19 vaccine air logistics, cross-border e-commerce and industry collaboration. Chaired by Yvonne Ho, General Manager, Hong Kong and Macau, International Air Transport Association, the speakers included Marco Bloemen, Managing Director, Seabury Consulting; Frosti Lau, Chairman, HKIA Air Cargo Carrier Liaison Group; Tony Khan, President and Representative Director, DHL Express Japan; Frederic Leger, Director APCS Products, International Air Transport Association; William Xiong, Chief Strategist and General Manager for Export & Global Logistics, Cainiao Network; and Alaina Shum, General Manager, Aviation Logistics, Airport Authority Hong Kong.

Maritime Forum focuses on Hong Kong’s role

The pandemic has disrupted the operation of the maritime industry but it has also inspired innovation and digitalisation that mitigate the impact. The outlook for the sector was in focus as the keynote address at this afternoon’s Maritime Forum was delivered by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization, who shared his thoughts on future business perspectives in the industry. This was followed by a session titled “The Way Forward for Hong Kong as an International Maritime Centre and its Role in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area”, with speakers including Benjamin Wong, Head of Maritime Cluster, InvestHK; Captain Bjorn Hojgaard, Chairman, Hong Kong Shipowners Association; Hing Chao, Executive Chairman, Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings; Kenneth Lam, Chairman & CEO, Credit Agricole Asia Shipfinance Limited; and Rosita Lau, Partner, Hong Kong, Ince & Co. Discussions focused on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, how the industry should adapt to the new normal in the post-pandemic world, and sustaining Hong Kong’s position as an international maritime centre in the midst of uncertainties in trade and related regulations. The session also explored how Hong Kong can leverage its strengths in ship management, ship financing and maritime legal services for maintaining a key strategic role in the Greater Bay Area.

The Maritime Forum also featured sessions titled “A Catalyst for Change”, with speakers including Jeremy Nixon, CEO, Ocean Network Express; Huang Xiaowen, Executive Vice President, China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited; Esben Poulsson, Chairman, International Chamber of Shipping; and Vincent Clerc, CEO of Ocean and Logistics, A.P.Moller-Maersk. Panel members shared on the latest developments in the shipping industry, operational challenges brought about by COVID-19, the roadmap for recovery, and digital transformation trends in the face of an uncertain future.

Power Dialogue sessions at the forum featured Kelvin Leung, CEO, Asia Pacific, DHL Global Forwarding, Grom Alexey Nikolaevich, CEO, Chairman of the Board, United Transport and Logistics Company – Eurasian Rail Alliance (UTLC ERA) and Zheng Shuangli, Director of Operations, Chengdu International Railway Port Investment & Development (Group) Co., Ltd. They examined Asian connectivity under the new normal and how the logistics industry can design smarter, stronger, better connected and more diverse supply chains to rebuild resilience and better manage future risk.

Supply Chain Management Forums cover logistics automation and social commerce

As logistics and supply chains become increasingly AI-driven, the second day of the conference will feature two Supply Chain Management Forums examining the role of transformational automation and the new trend of social commerce. Speakers at the first forum, co-organised with the Hong Kong Shippers’ Council, will include Sunny Ho, Executive Director, Hong Kong Shippers’ Council; Wu Ying Ying, Solution Head, Hangzhou Hikvision Robotics Technology; Michael Xie, Head, DHL Consulting China; and Lyan Law, Senior Consultant, Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing, Hong Kong Productivity Council. They will examine automation, robotics and the deployment of AI in logistics and supply chains.

The second session, co-organised with GS1 Hong Kong, will be chaired by Heidi Ho, Principal Consultant, GS1 Hong Kong, with a panel featuring James Li, Head of Operations, Shopee Cross-Border; Tom Lin, Hong Kong/Taiwan Supply Chain Director, Procter & Gamble; and Ben Au, General Manager, Empower SCM Ltd. Under the theme “Shaking up Supply Chain Management from E-commerce to Social Commerce”, this session will look into the relationship between social commerce and supply chains/logistics; how the supply chain and logistics sector is responding to changing trends; and how industry players can grasp the opportunities arising from social commerce.

ALMAC finale: WTO addresses outlook for industry recovery

The Closing Plenary session and respective keynote address, co-organised with The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, will feature Yonov Frederick Agah, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), sharing his views on the theme “World Trade Organisation Outlook for Charting Recovery”. According to the latest World Trade Report from the WTO, trade costs brought about by COVID-19 are closely related to trade policy uncertainty and restrictions on travel and transportation. The impact of the pandemic on the logistics industry has been widespread, with global air freight and ocean freight volumes shrinking substantially amid land border closures, along with a halt to business travel that is crucial for connecting trade and managing global value chains. With a potential trade rebound being hindered by increasing trade policy barriers and regulatory differences as well as cyber disruptions, this session will examine the outlook for world trade and how the industry and governments can help mitigate disruption.

World-renowned speakers on global logistics risks

The logistics, maritime and aviation industries face continued risks from escalating trade disputes, the pandemic and cyber disruptions, while the process of globalisation is challenged by geopolitical tensions and trade protectionism. Under these circumstances, global traders need to be more flexible in sourcing and production operations. Addressing these issues, ALMAC’s Closing Plenary will see leaders from different spheres share strategies for minimising the global logistics risks that lie ahead and assess the outlook for the industry under more volatile trade and business environments. Dr Agah will also speak at the Closing Plenary, titled “Leading through the New Paradigm of Global Logistics Risks under an Uncertain Trading Environment and Cyber Disruptions”, with other heavyweight speakers including Fox Chu, Partner, McKinsey; Jan Hoffmann, Chief, Trade Logistics Branch, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; Kenny Ye, Chief Operation Officer, Orient Overseas Container; Christopher Chan, Partner and Hong Kong Head of Shipping, Offshore and Logistics, Holman Fenwick Willan; Mathieu Renard Biron, Managing Director, Global Freight Forwarding, Kerry Logistics; and Stone Ho, Group Vice President, Apex Logistics International.

MarketTalks return to explore logistics opportunities

Launched last year, InnoTalks and MarketTalks both return in 2020. The InnoTalks sessions feature innovative solutions to help conference participants keep abreast of the technological developments in the logistics industry and generate new impetus in their business. MarketTalks sessions, meanwhile, feature key industry players from Mainland China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India, Malaysia and Thailand leading attendees in exploring new business opportunities among logistics ecosystems. Today, Liu Libing, Director of Marketing, New Land-Sea Corridor Operation Co, Ltd, shared on the current situation regarding the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor after nearly five years of development and explained how corporations can grasp opportunities arising from the corridor. Dato’ Hasan Azhari HJ. Idris, CEO, Invest Selangor, explored opportunities for halal logistics in Selangor. Ghanyapad Tantipipatpong, Chairwoman, Thai National Shippers’ Council, shared on the shift in supply chain strategies from globalisation to regionalisation. In other sessions, Xerrxes Master, Vice President, Association of Multimodal Transport Operators of India, provided updates on India’s logistics industry and discussed the path to excellence. Tomorrow, Mohsen Ahmad, CEO – Logistics District, Dubai South, will focus on how the EZDubai development is positioning Dubai as a key hub for e-commerce.