2023 and beyond: Buckle up! Volatility and uncertainty are still at play

Despite the fact that most of the world see the pandemic in the back mirror, there are many industries that continue to feel its effects. Most companies feel threatened by disruptors of this magnitude.

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“As a global shipping and logistics company, we still suffer from labor shortages and increased levels of demand following the supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic,” says COO of Shipping services at Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Xavier Leroi. “Global automotive manufacturers still face chip shortages and general supply crunches and both obviously disrupt our shipping and logistics planning. Our future joint success is therefore depending on how we live with increased levels of volatility.”

How to deal with volatility?

“Don’t forget the past, learn from it, that is our motto,” says Leroi. “Wallenius Wilhelmsen relies so heavily on our employees from every corner of the world. They are fronting new situations everyday and coming up with the best possible solutions to almost impossible challenges. Our teams will implement changes based on what we have learned from the experience of the past two years. When a similar situation happens, we are prepared, the experience of our teams standing in the front line is invaluable.”

Back to normal - back to basics

Shipping in general experienced a strong comeback after a lost decade following the 2004-2008 boom. This recovery was led by the container segment, but also other segments such as LNGs, bulkers and tankers, RoRo shipping experience upturns.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s priority is to get back to normal while not forgetting key learnings from the pandemic.

“We will be the first shipping company to return to some sort of normality in terms of product,” says Leroi. His full attention is on delivering value to customers in a timely and orderly fashion to ensure customer satisfaction.

“We will need to review some KPIs and the way we operate and adjust the promises we make to our customers, the industry and our employees. I am talking about a recalibration of our commitments! It is extremely important that we as a company commit on what we know we can deliver. This means that we need to learn to say ‘no’ going forward. Saying ‘no’ when we know we cannot deliver is actually the right way to prevent future problems and frustrations, but it is not easy, because we want to deliver to all our customers.”

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Greener and smarter
Sustainability is a key topic among players in the automotive industry. As more consumers prefer brands offering transparency regarding the environmental impact of their products and production line, the need for sustainable shipping escalates.

Leroi is proud to tell the market about the journey Wallenius Wilhelmsen has committed to: To establish one zero-emission service line by 2027. “This is a goal we have internally, but we need to work closely with our customers to make it happen.”

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) introduced new regulations on decarbonization last year. Still, shipping is undecided on which technology will lead the energy transition away from fossil fuels. These are challenges that Wallenius Wilhelmsen needs to resolve.

“We have several emission-reduction goals at Wallenius Wilhelmsen. We will reduce our carbon intensity with 27.5 percent by 2030, and we are on track to reach this goal which is related to fleet efficiency as well. Also, we are looking into technological innovations to help reduce our emissions. Only last quarter we installed data sensors and started using an AI-tool onboard vessels that reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 percent. Only companies that contribute to solving the climate challenge and provide goods and services that society needs in a sustainable manner will prevail and prosper.”

It is all about the team

“It may sound strange, but it is not only about shipping. It is about all of us in this group we call Wallenius Wilhelmsen. Over many years, Wallenius Wilhelmsen has reached a level of maturity that will be the foundation of great collaboration going forward. It is all about the team,” Leroi says.

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