CEO of Inchcape shares his views on the impact of COVID-19 on the Shipping Agency
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an economic downturn for the global economy. Businesses have had to find innovative solutions to operate and continue delivering value to clients. Frank Olsen serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Inchcape Shipping Services, which specializes in maritime operations, shipping agency, operational efficiency, resource management, and maritime logistics. In its 170 years of history, Inchcape has been through several turbulent times. Each time it has emerged as a stronger company, further reinforcing its position as an industry leader. Inchcape has established over 240 offices in 68 countries throughout the world. It offers coverage of around 85% of all ports in the world. Frank Olsen shared his views on the impact of COVID-19 on Inchcape and the shipping industry.
According to Olsen, there has been an overall decline of 20% for Inchcape for April and May. The solid IT infrastructure has allowed Inchcape employees and contractors to continue working remotely. That has helped minimize the impact of COVID-19. However, certain segments have stopped trading for the moment and other operational vessels have also faced disruptions. Inchcape has been able to quickly adapt to the urgent requirements of the industry and has been able to leverage their vast resources and international network to provide crew and passenger logistic solutions.
Potential for Growth
The Covid-19 restrictions and reduced consumer spending have Inchcape analysts forecast a decline of 5-7% in seaborne trade. At the moment, Inchcape Shipping Services holds about a 5% market share in the shipping industry. However, Olsen believes these tough times have shown enormous potential for growth for Inchcape. He aims to double the market share for Inchcape in the next 5 years. This growth could potentially come from acquisitions and organic growth as clients start to realize the benefits of working with a global specialist such as Inchcape.
One of the advantages offered by Inchcape is its ability to provide global standards of operations, compliance and regulations and cyber security, regardless of the location of the port. Inchcape global presence and years of successful track record provides clients with confidence and security. Over the decades, Inchcape has maintained its principles of integrity and transparency to nurture a long-term relationship with clients.
Big Picture Benefits
There is a misconception that smaller regional shipping agencies can provide localized information that larger players might not be able to. Olsen points out that Inchcape is a global player but it also has a sophisticated regional network that provides comprehensive and live local data and insights. Furthermore, Inchcape acts as a single point of contact for operations for various functions at different ports.
Digital Technology and a Trusted Partnership
There has been a growing emphasis by Inchcape on using the best digital technology to facilitate clients. A proprietary digital service called World of Ports (WoP) was developed by Inchcape to provide clients with a single-source solution to access information relating to 15,000 terminals in the world. Along with the latest digital technology, Inchcape continues to leverage the expertise of its highly skilled and professional workforce. Olsen believes the shipping agency remains a people business and his team is the key to the success of the company.