In the run-up to the biggest retail period of 2021, broken supply chains were headline news. The issue is complex, and I believe disruption will continue until 2023. The new restrictions across the world will have long-lasting and damaging effects. The emergence of the Omicron Variant is a reminder that COVID-19 is still very much present in our lives. We respect the closing of borders as we look to contain this virus but need to be mindful of the effect it will have on trade. There will undoubtedly be a material impact on our business, but DP World will continue evolving to enable us to create a world that is not just rebuilt but built better.
So after my look back at 2021 earlier in the week, here are My Five Things To Look Forward To In 2022.
1. More Digitalisation
We will be investing in shared data tools that will create “virtual” capacity by embracing regional warehouse collaboration. The expansion of our CARGOES brand will give greater flexibility to cargo owners and move goods out of ports faster by speeding up and automating customs clearance processes. DUBUY.com is set to open more African markets. We want to develop a pan-African and eventually a global B2B e-commerce platform that boosts international and domestic trade for the markets we operate in.
2. Investment In Multimodal Logistics
Supply chains never sleep. DP World will continue to invest in our multimodal capabilities across the network – using rail, river, sea, and road to provide seamless 24/7 capabilities. We also expect developments in hyperloop technology through DP World Cargospeed, providing an incomparable service for high-priority, on-demand goods, delivering freight at the speed of flight and closer to the cost of trucking. Systems are 100% electric and can be powered by renewable energy, creating a more sustainable solution for cargo transport. This innovative initiative is set to accelerate a sustainable and digital transformation of business operations.
3. Expanding Trade In Emerging Markets
Global trade has lifted large parts of the world out of poverty. It has brought prosperity to many developing economies and given hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people access to jobs, better education, and healthcare.
We remain committed to our role as a global trade enabler in Latin America, for example, growing its complementary sectors in the global supply chain. We are developing terminals to handle a wider range of cargo and to continue improvements – from dredging to increase access for larger vessels and more competitive port costs to looking for opportunities in new logistics technologies for bulk cargo in fertilisers and energy projects.
I continue to be impressed by the World Logistics Passport. This model for trade is establishing new partnerships and makes global trade resilient for emerging nations. The programme has achieved so much, despite the headwinds faced by global trade. I look forward to building on these successes in 2022, and beyond.
4. Working With Governments To Create Improved Infrastructure
The Suez Canal blockage last year was a wake-up call. It showed everybody that to keep cargo flowing around the world, we are all incredibly reliant on key infrastructure along just a few vital trade routes. We have also learned from the challenges now being faced by some of the major US ports. We will be working with governments to build infrastructure that has future demands firmly in mind.
Over the coming months, Thames Freeport (which includes DP World London Gateway) will create a development-ready platform to drive new investment, jobs, skills, and the adoption of greener technology. This will help our customers to grow faster and more sustainably. Through infrastructure investment, coupled with improved customs procedures, we will lower the cost of trade and transport, enabling the competitiveness, productivity, and enhanced growth of existing and future businesses, following the UK’s exit from the EU.
In Africa, we want to transform Berbera into a major maritime, industrial, and logistics hub in the Horn of Africa, especially for Ethiopian transit cargo. The development of the deep-sea port at Banana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, will bring significant cost and time savings for the country’s trade, as it will attract more direct calls from larger vessels from Asia and Europe. This will also directly benefit Kongo Central, as the port will attract foreign direct investment to the surrounding area and stimulate local trade and the economy.
5. Using Logistics To Support Health
As the leading enabler of global trade, we believe we have the tools, ingenuity and drive to lead a revolution in logistics to support healthcare, creating the foundations for effective healthy supply chains. We will continue to provide the equitable distribution of vaccines to those that need it most, along with partners like UNICEF. We will also be using our logistics expertise to support the flow of other vital medical equipment like oxygen and will help to improve water and sanitation for communities around the world.
Hope For 2022
The outlook for 2022 remains positive. From developed economies to emerging markets, we need a connected ecosystem of partners to share knowledge, resources and to pioneer new solutions. A strong 2021 leaves us well-placed to focus on delivering our 2022 targets. By working together, we will forge a path to a sustainable future.