“We have entered the new year against a background of continuing geopolitical volatility bringing the potential to disrupt international trade. And it is at such times that the need for commercial resilience, stability and a measured approach is paramount.
“Volatility and ongoing uncertainty can create imbalances in supply and demand and disrupt the whole supply chain by impacting shipping routes, freight rates, lead times, insurance costs and inventory levels, especially for those with a Just-In-Time mechanism. And that ultimately means loss of sales, brand loyalty and customers opting for different products forever. Sudden geopolitical shifts can disrupt established trade routes, as we have already seen with some carriers opting to avoid the Red Sea route for their vessels, the trend towards changing manufacturers in Asia, and Europe shifting energy and raw material suppliers.
“To protect and optimise the efficiency of supply chains in uncertain times, businesses must invest time in assessing optimum inventory levels, increasing visibility, creating contingency plans and evaluating alternate manufacturers, suppliers and shipping routes. Standardising operations, adhering to certifications and their controls, and reducing wastage are key steps to enhance overall efficiency.
“Businesses must continuously evaluate and challenge current processes and aim to benchmark their practices against the best in the industry.
“Strategic investment in technology is paramount. Businesses should use advanced solutions to boost transparency and accuracy of inventory, transactions and overall productivity. Not only does this streamline operations, it also provides a strong foundation for adaptability in dynamic market conditions.
“Governments and authorities also play a key role here by helping to enhance efficiency through digitalisation and robust processes to meet tomorrow’s business needs.
“Despite the shifting geopolitical conditions, new construction projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE continued last year, with new projects in Ras Laffan and Doha and major events like F1 and Moto GP played pivotal roles in rejuvenating spending patterns. By maintaining a steadfast and adaptable approach, more are expected in 2024 – with GAC providing key support through our shipping and logistics infrastructure, of course.”
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