Last week, OceanX’s first formal Annual General Meeting was conducted in Chengdu, China. The network that was founded in 2018 and formally started this year, is focusing on innovation in the ocean freight sector, going beyond traditional bilateral facilitation. This year’s conference brought more than 100 delegates, members, guests and speakers into the capital of China’s spicy west. 

After a casual networking evening with international food and drinks in the venue of the Grand Hyatt Residence, the conference started on Thursday morning with an opening speech from the networks founder and director, Ruben Huber. 

After briefly going through the agenda for the coming days, Ruben elaborated the work of the network during its first year, including its fast growth, as it now assembles 113 members in 70 countries already, with many more under discussion. He made clear however, that OceanX is not chasing numbers but quality and that the amazing companies and people already forming the network today, are setting the bar high. Further, he reiterated that the focus of the network remains adding value to members, by helping to navigate common challenges and support them to win in the market. After noting some of the first year successes, like the marketplace guide, the efficiency assessment workshop, the Munich transport logistics fair and the introduction of OceanX market reports, he laid out the plans for 2020 and announced some key dates and network events. 

Ruben was followed by Ning Han of Drewry, who shared an in-depth analysis of the US China trade war and its impact on the tradelane so far. Afterwards TS Teo, Managing Director of our member PIL Logistics, delivered an interesting presentation on the current status of the belt and road initiative and in particular the role of western China in this picture, providing insights on the Qinzhou gateway and the China-ASEAN partnership via Singapore. 

In the first session, introducing key China innovators, Kevin Zhou and Sherry Xian presented the vision and services of Oneinfitech, that is reinventing national distribution and 3PL services in China. They were followed by Steven Lagendijk of NileDutch Shipping Line providing an overview on the challenges in West Africa services and liners key differentiation factors in complex environments. Afterwards Ruben returned with Boris Bartula, head of marketing and IT for the network, explaining the role of the OceanX in terms of technology, announcing the latest updates to the OceanX application and the imminent launch of the mobile app. Louise Chen, from strategic partner, Parcel International followed, presenting their innovative white label eCommerce distribution solution which members can easily combine with existing main-haul services, enabling them satisfy complex customer requirements. Further in the morning, Alfred Cheung, ambassador and cold chain logistics expert in OceanX, provided an update on key trends and challenges in the cold chain sector. He was followed by Johannes Kern, adjunct professor at Shanghai Tongji University, who focused on the key skills required for the future and outlined the vision for an executive development program that will be built by the network in the coming year. The second China innovator for the day, was then Edmon Fung, founder of the OYM alliance, a marketplace platform for warehousing and 3PL services with already more than 18,000 warehouses across China and Asia. Finally the morning concluded with a brief overview by the strategic partner on the airfreight side, Neutral Air Partner and their founder Christos Spyrou. 

The One2One Meetings of the afternoon, were interrupted from two specialisation sessions: one on project cargo with CMA CGMs Kollatt Muhajiz and Captain Mike in the main room, moderated by Moanisse Bennasser, and a more intimate round on Cool Chain Logistics with Alfred Cheng in the Saloon. 

Thursday evening saw the delegates head out to explore the nightlife of Chengdu with some exciting Sichuan food in TaiKooLi, followed by a local music bar experience in Chengdu’s Lan Kwai Fong district. 

Friday was dedicated to individual meetings, interrupted by a digitalisation case study moderated by Meg Yim, featuring FreightBro’s CEO Raghavendran Viswanathan and our member Jeena & Co, represented by Deepak Khanna. Raghav outlined the digital journey of Jeena, from problem to implementation of the solution with instant customer feedback during the case presentation from Deepak. They jointly shared some of the key learnings along the journey, especially around the complexities of implementation and change management. 

The third day concluded with an exciting local experience dinner in the evening, featuring the famous Chengdu hotpot in an exciting environment and complemented by a variety of local cultural performances from traditional dances, over historic instruments to the famous mask change.

Saturday, Day 4, then saw the long awaited visit to the Chengdu Panda base, where delegates had the pleasure to see many giant Panda bears of different ages in a very natural habitat. Some delegates tried to draw life work balance insights from those beautiful animals that spend the majority of their day eating and sleeping, with little exercise. Afterwards it was time to say goodbye for most attendees, while some with later flights still had the chance to join a very special city tour, experiencing local delicacies and wandering through the famous wide and narrow alleys of Chengdu. 

OceanX and it’s entire team, would like to thank all delegates, members, speakers and guests for this amazing week in Chengdu! 

Looking forward to see you next year in Portugal! 

PS: Presentation materials and session videos will be shared with members shortly to enable sharing internally. 

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About OceanX

OceanX is a non – exclusive global network of leading ocean freight providers and NVOCCs dedicated to delivering bespoke innovative solutions, in particular on FCL services, LCL consolidation, dangerous goods and chemical logistics, temperature control, as well as project cargo handling.

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