October 2009

Tonight, Christine Loh – founder and CEO of Hong Kong based Policy Research Group Civic Exchange – gave the annual Peter Thompson lecture at the University of Hull Logistics Institute. The theme was Port cities and, the sustainability challenge. 

Takes your breath away

Using a Global League Table of the top ten container ports since 1998, Christine Loh highlighted the rise of Shanghai from 3 million to over 28 million teus (containers) by 2008. Other ports came from nowhere to join the elite. Then, showing photographs of the port proximity to living space, Public Health figures were introduced to beg the question – is this growth sustainable? (more…)


Distribution rarely makes an appearance on the main stage of the Globalisation debate. Specialist literature on logistics or supply chain management is confined to the margins and yet, few countries are in a so-called developed state and, the vast majority need a revolution in infrastructure and connectivity to have any chance of transforming their economies to reap the rewards of globalisation or, improve their local realities.

Paul Collier has tracked a number of African countries where natural resources have not generated the desired social dividends and many other commentators highlight countries torn apart by civil war or, natural disasters to be plagued by the dead hand of corruption. And yet, in some Report or, Strategic Plan somewhere visions of a viable market-led economy tied together by logistics languish. Let’s look at the journey that all such countries have to travel. 

All countries torn apart by war and many wrecked by natural disasters turn to military logistics to put them back together. Temporary bridges and makeshift roads are laid to pull together isolated communities and, lay out the network that can allow a second phase Humanitarian logistics effort to work. Now, the work of reaching the needy with food and the sick with medicines can begin. And yet, the next set of images that we see in this narrative is based on a business case from the developed world. It is as if we move from military and humanitarian logistics to a market led solution in one giant leap.  From mayhem to shopping mall is not the logistics next step. Mind the gap.

T L concept

Without T L there's a clear gap


In a speech on the Skills Gap and Manpower training at the CII Logistics Summit 2009, Rob Bell spoke of the elephant in the room. He was referring to the tendency to ignore those who live and work in the informal or shadow market when all of the great plans for India are being discussed. All talk of India shining and the demographic dividend must address those at the bottom of the pyramid and, the skills deficit.

Over 350 delegates heard him speak of the skills gap in India. “By 2022, India will need over 500 million skilled workers but, current skills training capacity is no more than an estimated 3 million trainees per year. This is a major skills gap in the Young Republic and a revolution in thinking and practice is needed to close the gap.”

Let's not forget the inclusive value chain

Let's not forget the inclusive value chain

Using examples from all sectors of Indian industry, he highlighted the massive infrastructure and sector based investments that are planned over the next 15 years. From Ports to Warehousing, the Logistics industry is being transformed. However, without the skills to deliver – these plans will stall. (more…)