“Picking up the Pieces” was the theme of the 2023 TPM Conference. Following two years of the most severe disruption, international supply chains are exhausted and seeking a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy. Global leaders came to TPM to solve these challenges together, including Vanguard International CEO Craig Stauffer and Chief Business Development Officer Dirk Winkelmann.
As the industry gathered at the TPM Conference last week in Long Beach, California, many were still questioning the current state of supply chains. “Was the shock so great that when more shippers and carriers throw in the towel on ‘playing the market’ and sign index-linked contracts, they effectively take price off the table and allow the parties to focus on collaboration and service? What’s the right fit when it comes to contracting and even securing dedicated air cargo, transload over-the-road trucking, and drayage capacity? How will tougher shipping regulations change the balance of power?” These questions were some of the themes being addressed throughout the conference.
During the conference, Stauffer was on a panel with the topic Cool Cargoes III: Shippers Sound Off on the Need for Solutions, discussing the ongoing challenges of refrigerated shippers. The Vanguard CEO was joined by fellow panelists William C. Duggan – North American Cold Chain Advisor at Eskesen Advisory, Juan Alarcon- CEO of Fyffes North America’s Tropical Division, Lasse Peterson- Head of International Logistics at JBS USA, Greg Tyler- President and CEO of USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, Ed Treacy- VP Supply Chain and Sustainability for International Fresh Produce Association.
Following the disruptions caused by the pandemic, there are numerous pieces to be picked up. With that said, leaders have seen that what comes through most clearly as the extreme turmoil of the market begins to subside is ultimately the interdependence of the key parties involved. Carriers are nothing without cargo to fill their ships, and getting that cargo starts with relationships with shippers and forwarders. Building on last year’s theme of ‘Relationships Matter’ leaders are continuing to see the importance of building and repairing relationships.
If there was one universal takeaway from the TPM Conference it is that container shipping is a market that ebbs and flows, and in 2023, that has not changed.