By the time our readers receive this copy of our magazine OPPORTUNITY, we should be approaching year end and I often get questions from the media asking: “How is Hutchison Ports performing in 2017?” and “What can we expect in 2018?”
This year has seen an overall improvement across our network with gateway ports performing particularly well, aided by improving global trade. The major shift in the industry was a further bout of consolidation in the container shipping sector leading to changes in port calls by the alliances, I am pleased to share the news with you that this development did not adversely affect us.
In fact, given recent trade developments we see moderate growth continuing in 2018 but in the low single digit range, and in our ports cost efficiencies will still be a focus rather than stimulating revenue growth.
Over recent years we have focused on cost savings and improving performance and efficiency. That strategy has been a success and all of our business units are now achieving productivity goals and are financially sound.
We are now poised to take advantage of new opportunities and diversify into different sectors within the supply chain.
We will continue to develop our gateway ports and explore new opportunities so to expand our revenue source into the logistics sector. We will turn our attention to market potential outside of our terminals, mostly in terms of offering a range of services to customers, including domestic warehousing, depots, trucking, rail freight, Customs and inland ports.
We are already offering logistics services in highly developed markets, including Mexico, the Middle East, South East Asia and Europe, and we will devote greater resources to these markets. The aim is to make our terminals the focal point and create ‘stickiness’ with all of these auxiliary services.
As part of our development in Europe, we are entering into a joint venture to run a breakbulk port in Amsterdam, which will also be handling ro-ro vessels. This is an exciting development as we diversify our business into new areas of growth.
Closer to home we will be expanding our rail freight services at Yantian, with regular direct services from the quay side to connect directly into China’s national rail network. In Myanmar the company is offering a total logistics solution for import and export cargo, providing a one-stop service for customers. We see an exciting year ahead as we look beyond the container terminal and move into the hinterland of our ports to seek out new opportunities and broaden the range of logistics services we offer to our customers.
We are also delighted to announce that Hutchison Ports has added three new ports in the Middle East and Africa region, one in Iraq and two in the United Arab Emirates. These ports strengthen our presence along the Belt and Road and there are now a total of 51 ports in 26 countries in our network.
We are looking forward to forging ahead with new initiatives in 2018.