TOC Asia, part of Singapore Maritime Week, to debate major shifts in Asia region economies

London, 10.3.2015 – Asia’s diverse economies are on the cusp of game-changing shifts that will fundamentally restructure global supply chains.

2015-04-15-TOC-Asia At the 19th TOC Asia Conference and Exhibition, taking place 21-22 April 2015 at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore, Richard Martin, Managing Director of IMA Asia will map the changing economic profiles traversing the Asia region and explain how multinational companies will have to adapt to these shifting dynamics.

“Global growth isn’t what it used to be,” says Mr Martin. “A key dynamic of the 2000 decade was the rise of emerging markets, and many Western firms successfully rode that wave. But that dynamic, epitomised by the ‘BRICS’ concept, is dead. The latest forecasts from the IMF and World Bank show only two emerging market regions holding close to 6% real growth – sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Latin America has fallen back, as has the CIS, the Middle East, and North Africa.” 

As a keynote speaker in the opening session at the TOC Asia Container Supply Chain conference, Richard Martin will explore why it is that Asia’s emerging markets can hold onto 6% real growth to 2020.

However, “that won’t make Asia a gold mine,” he cautions, “as the operating risks remain very high, and the markets are extremely fragmented outside of Japan and China.” 

Asia’s high risk profile means there is a premium on operational flexibility, he continues. In addition, there are a few big risks to watch for, foremost among which is the possibility of a financial crisis in China. 

“Solving those two problems – high operating risks and sub-scale markets – is one of the biggest challenges for firms looking to tap the remaining high growth rates,” Mr Martin states.

Immediate horizon

A more immediate challenge is responding to a major exchange rate realignment that started in late 2014 and looks set to continue through the first half of this year, Mr Martin continues.  “It starts with the steady rise of the US Dollar alongside big falls for the Yen and the Euro. There is enormous diversity in how the other Asian currencies will respond to this. Some will stay close to the US Dollar, with drops of 2-3%; but others have already fallen 25% or more. This shifts the competitive position for manufacturing and supply chains across the region, and during this year most firms will need to adapt their strategies for production, sourcing and pricing to the new exchange rate reality.”

We are currently in a world where Euro and Yen based firms have a giant advantage, he says, and US Dollar based firms must come up with a good response or lose market position.

Underlying trends

Nevertheless, consumer markets in many parts of Asia are forecast to grow as populations become wealthier and more urbanised, and this underlying trend perhaps has even bigger implications for regional trade and supply chains.

China is still the world’s largest exporter, Mr Martin says. It is also currently the world’s second largest importer after the US. But in the next few years, China will emerge as the world’s largest importer, not just of commodities but of manufactured goods and services. That is bringing a major realignment in China’s commercial relationship with its neighbours in North and Southeast Asia. 

“China remains the big competitor, but it is also becoming THE big consumer,” adds Mr Martin. “This is a hot political issue in South Korea, where debate over a near-completed free trade agreement with China is about to explode, in Taiwan, where the KMT government could be voted out due to its support for commercial ties with China, and with ASEAN as the formation of an ASEAN Economic Community looms at the end of this year.”

Silk Road reality

A further factor to watch, he believes, is China’s plans to turn the dreams of a new Silk Road into logistical reality. The road, rail and port infrastructure China plans over the next 5-10 years will transform trade flows in Asia more than free trade agreements, he asserts. “China has the money, the engineers, and the political capacity to implement a new regional trade structure in a way we haven’t seen since the rebuilding of global markets after the Second World War,” Mr Martin concludes.

With offices Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney, IMA Asia is an insights provider and sounding board for executives in charge of Asia Pacific operations. The firm currently supports over 1,500 members, encompassing executives from the world’s largest companies and best-known brands.

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 already confirmed

Key supply chain stakeholders and analysts already confirmed to speak at the CSC forum include: Mohammed Al Muallem, SVP & Managing Director, DP World UAE Region; Jaya Moorthi, Director of Supply Chain & Logistics, Hewlett Packard Asia Pacific; David Panjwani, Global Logistics Manager, Asia/Africa, John Deere; Stanley Smulders, SVP Asia - Europe & West Africa Trade Management, MOL Liner; Carl Zhong, Shipping and Intermodal Manager, Clevy China; Casper Ellerbaek, VP Trade Management, Kuehne + Nagel; Sundara Sundara, VP Ocean Product, Asia Pacific, Agility; Oscar Wang, Assistant General Manager, Shekou Container Terminals; John Arnup, Chief Technical Officer, Port of Tanjung Pelepas; 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:

Subscribe to receive news:

You'll receive a confirmation email from FeedBurner to activate your subscription.