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TOC 2015TOC Asia 2015 – Major shippers remain sceptical about the benefits conferred by the development of larger shipping alliances

Singapore 23.04.2015 – David Panjwani, global logistics director for US machinery manufacturer John Deere said that the emergence of four large east-west shipping alliances, combined with the introduction of larger vessels and deteriorating schedule reliability levels had caused a series of problems in the company’s supply chain that impacted its customers.

“Do the larger alliances and vessels cause more headaches for shippers? In a word, yes, ” he said.

While lines have claimed that by combining networks through alliances structures have led to a greater choice of port calls for shippers, Mr Panjwani argued that the net effect was longer service lead times.

“We assume that there will be more port calls per string, and more slow steaming which both extends shipping times, and there are continued challenges with service interruptions.

“We don’t have a lot of exciting things to say in terms of reliability of shipping products – if anything, it’s the opposite. I was in Australia last week and it was a very unpleasant experience, because we are continuing to fail to meet our customers’ delivery dates, ” he said.

While he agreed that “on paper” having multiple carriers combining their respective networks appeared to be a better product, he argued that the alliance concept had been around since the 1970s, but now there are only four of them, “we have concerns about what this will look like in the long term”.

He said: “Take 2M for example – it’s about putting our best carrier with our worst, in terms of reliability.

“We have existing letters of credit and customer service requirements that have to be met so we have a lot of concerns, ” he explained, and argued that outright merger and acquisition would lead to better service quality than the looser alliance arrangement.
As a result of the service disruptions, John Deere has had little option but to increase the lead times it quotes to buyers of its equipment because of the variability in transit times.

“And that is not good for us in terms of the return on our assets, ” he added.

And responding to the accusation that by forcing freight rates down and playing the spot market, many shippers had been the architects of their own downfall, Mr Panjwani said that John Deere’s container supply chain was so important to the company’s financial success that it had entered into contracts of almost unprecedented lengths with some of its carriers.

“We struck a three-year deal with fixed rates that are reviewed annually according to a rate index and adjusted depending on how the spot market behaves, because we have to keep our production lines running, ” he said, adding that this approach was vindicated during the recent congestion crisis on the US west coast.

“We have thousands of containers coming out of Japan to the US and we think that because of this strategy and our relationship with the carriers that we were able to get our boxes on the ships and through the ports when other shippers had a lot of problems.”

To view the full conference agenda, please visit:

TOC Asia Exhibition 
Running alongside these two high-level conferences is the TOC Asia Exhibition, a unique platform for the port and terminal community to meet port equipment manufacturers, second tier suppliers and service providers.

Conference delegates and exhibitors will be free to network with each while discussing the prime issues raised by the event programme and the solutions on offer.

About TOC Asia
TOC Asia – the pan-Asia conference for people who own, move and handle containerised cargoes – runs as part of Singapore Maritime Week (SMW), running from 19-24 April 2015. At TOC Asia 2015, economic experts and supply chain stakeholders will analyse the fundamental challenges and opportunities presented by the shifting drivers of regional and global trade.

TOC Asia comprises two concurrent debating forums – the Container Supply Chain (CSC) Conference and the TECH TOC Conference – supported by a common networking zone where industry peers can swap notes and debate the high level discussion points presented in the conference sessions.

The Container Supply Chain (CSC) element is an executive-level discussion forum focused on international trade, container shipping, port development and logistics, bringing together shippers, shipping lines, 3PLs, port authorities, terminal operators, government and other key supply chain members.

This is complemented by TECH TOC, designed to engage operational executives in the practicalities of port and terminal performance, with in-depth debates on facility design, automation, operations, equipment and technology from berth to gate.

Major stakeholders 
Key supply chain stakeholders and analysts speaking at the CSC forum include: Abdulla Bin Damithan, Commercial Director, DP World, UAE Region; Jaya Moorthi, Director of Supply Chain & Logistics, Hewlett Packard Asia Pacific; Julian Smith, Global Transportation and Logistics Leader, PwC; David Panjwani, Global Logistics Manager, Asia/Africa, John Deere; Stanley Smulders, SVP Asia – Europe & West Africa Trade Management, MOL Liner; Casper Ellerbaek, VP Trade Management, Kuehne + Nagel; Sundara Sundara, VP Ocean Product, Asia Pacific, Agility; Oscar Wang, Assistant General Manager, Shekou Container Terminals; David Alba, President & CEO, Grid Logistics; Richard Martin, Managing Director, IMA Asia; Alan Murphy, COO & Partner, SeaIntel Maritime Analysis; Andy Lane, Partner, CTI Consultancy; Jonathan Beard, Managing Director, ICF GHK; Dr. Stefan Wiech, Partner, HPC Hamburg Port Consulting; Dr. Thomas Vitsounis, Project Leader, Total Port Logistics, NICTA (National ICT Australia); Andrew Zerk, Director, New Dimensionz.

To view the full speaker list, visit:

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